Trails to Prosperity: Public Land Solutions, Outdoor Industry Association and The North Face Host Recreation Economy Congressional Briefing at Capitol Summit

On April 27, Public Land Solutions partnered with the Outdoor Industry Association and The North Face on Trails to Prosperity, a briefing and panel highlighting the Prosperous Communities Initiative.The briefing discussed various ways that towns and cities are using the currency of the 21st Century — recreation — to help their communities grow and prosper. The event included two panels, the first featuring local officials and the second federal officials and business representatives. Speaking on the first panel were Kalen Jones, Moab City Council (UT); Karen Minkel, Home Region Director for the Walton Family Foundation (AR); Gwen Lachelt, La Plata County Commission (CO); and Mike Baughman, Executive Director of the Lincoln County Regional Development Authority (NV).

On the second panel, speakers included Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM); Glenn Casamassa, Associate Deputy Chief for the U.S. Forest Service; and Marc Berejka, Director of Government & Community Affairs at Recreational Equipment Incorporated (REI).

“Trails to Prosperity was a complete success,” said Ashley Korenblat, co-founder of Public Land Solutions who hosted the panelists and facilitated discussion. “We are forging ahead with new and innovative ways for the outdoor recreation econom
y to integrate into communities and help them grow. Because recreation isn’t subject to the fluctuations of markets like commodities are, it can ensure communities maintain a steady economy and help them prosper.”

This briefing coincided with the rollout of a new OIA report showing that the Recreation Economy supports $887 billion in direct consumer spending, 7.6 million American jobs, and $124.5 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenue. This very strong numbers builds on the passing of the bipartisan Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act of 2016 (REC Act), which directs the government to quantify the outdoor recreation industry’s jobs and economic contributions and account for these numbers in the United States’ GDP. With this momentum, many communities across the country develop, protect, and enhance recreation assets to diversify and grow local economies.

While in DC Public Land Solutions also received a large amount of press regarding the recreation economy and public lands, these news stories can be found here: CNN, WBUR, KTLA, Daily Kos, KSL, KFOR, Travel Pulse. You can read more about maximizing recreation and cultural resources here and more about balancing recreation assets and energy development here.


Public Land Solutions is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing comprehensive recreation planning and stakeholder coordination to support effective and sustainable public land solutions. Our campaigns at PLS — such as the Prosperous Communities Intiative — seek to drive economic development through outdoor recreation. We do this by working with the outdoor industry and gateway businesses to protect recreation assets by facilitating inclusive planning processes that benefit a broad range of stakeholders. Find out more about Public Land Solutions here.