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Principles for Advancing Outdoor Recreation and Conservation

Outdoor recreation enthusiasts, conservation advocates, and public land managers joined forces to forge a common vision for protecting—and enjoying—America’s public lands, waters, and wildlife.

Environmental advocates and outdoor enthusiasts share a deep passion for America’s natural treasures. Yet, in many areas of the country, they have clashed over how to access, manage, and appreciate public lands, waters, and wildlife. In 2015, the Murie Center called on Meridian to broker a joint framework for protecting these critical natural resources. Through a retreat in Grand Teton National Park, Meridian united preservationists, outdoor recreation leaders, and public land managers to create a set of Principles for Advancing Outdoor Recreation and Conservation.

These principles represent cooperation between groups better known for long-standing tension and confrontation—a key outcome of Meridian’s ability to build trust within the group and engender productive exchanges. Following the retreat, we finalized the draft principles with feedback solicited from over 70 people, including executive directors of conservation organizations, CEOs of outdoor industry companies, leaders from outdoor recreation interest groups, and public lands managers.

The principles outline a broadly shared, ambitious vision for how to protect nature while respecting those who use and enjoy it. They debuted at the 2015 SHIFT Festival—an annual event that explores issues at the intersection of outdoor recreation, conservation, and public health—as the “SHIFT Principles.” In 2016, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Colorado Outdoor Partnership (CO-OP) adopted the Principles as their key guiding values. Taking on new life since their creation, the Principles have led to new partnerships, programs, and visibility to advance joint protection and preservation of public lands, waters, and wildlife.

Project Team

Learn more about who led the Principles for Advancing Outdoor Recreation and Conservation project.