Framework for SHIFT in 2016

combined-with-arrowThe Premise: The coalition of stakeholders working to protect our public lands has the potential to become a movement. Youth engagement proponents, outdoor recreationists, land managers, and conservation advocates will realize their greatest opportunities for effectiveness when they address issues of common concern with a unified voice. Working together to achieve shared objectives, their ability to champion our public lands in a time of unprecedented threat is extraordinary.

The Problem: The greatest threat to the movement’s success is its fragmentation. Compartmentalization of work, replication of effort, lack of communication between principals, and conflict between natural allies are just a few of the challenges that conspire against a united whole.

The Solution: SHIFT (Shaping How we Invest For Tomorrow) unites natural allies around the common goal of protecting our public lands. By providing a unified framework for stewardship, we increase the effectiveness of our common efforts.

FOCUSING THE MOVEMENT An outline of our efforts for 2016:

  • The SHIFT Spring Retreat will convene a gathering of principals from the various constituency groups to discuss ways the movement can be focused and harnessed. The results will inform the programming for the October festival.
  • Millennials Outside: At the Outdoor Retailer Summer Trade Show, a public discussion on diversifying the “look” of users in outdoor media will showcase our efforts to increase the participation of young people of color and urban millennials in outdoor rec and conservation.
  • The Emerging Leaders Program: This three-day program, developed in conjunction with the Teton Science School, provides emerging leaders (21 and older) the skill sets necessary to facilitate the SHIFT Summit and related events in Jackson Hole in October—and that allows them to use the same skills to unite outdoor recreation, land-management and conservation advocates in their communities around emergent recreation/conservation issues.
  • SHIFTx Stakeholder Discussions will explore issues at the intersection of outdoor rec, land management and conservation pertinent to the Jackson Hole community. The discussions will allow us to beta-test export of the outdoor rec/conservation/land management coalition to emergent issues in other communities.

SHIFT’s efforts are informed by the Principles for Outdoor Recreation and Conservation: six Principles that outdoor recreationists, conservationists and land managers have advanced to increase success in the protection of our public lands, waters and wildlife.

Specifically, SHIFT advocates that stakeholders:

  • FIGHT for our public lands and waters
  • PROMOTE responsible recreation that’s inclusive and informed by a conservation ethic
  • MINIMIZE our impacts as recreationists and our conflicts with other users
  • CONTRIBUTE solutions to youth engagement, land-management, conservation and recreation problems
  • RESPECT land-management rules and regulations
  • SUPPORT long-term funding solutions that protect the environment and advance responsible recreation

COALITION CONSTITUENTS The following stakeholder groups are the key allies we bring to the table:

Outdoor Recreationists

Do we love the activity, or the place in which it occurs? Avid users of our public lands offer unrealized potential for their stewardship precisely because they are an impassioned constituency—but if the desires of individual users trump the needs of the place, the tragedy of the commons is realized and the legacy of John Muir imperiled.

Outdoor Media

Media frames the conversation in the public mind. Together with the Outdoor Blogger Summit, we help insure that the outdoor media is engaged and well-informed—both critical components to balanced and fair portrayals of the conservation/recreation agenda.

The Outdoor Industry

The American outdoor economy represents a $646B/year industry. As this “sleeping dragon” of the American economic engine awakens, it must develop the customer bases of tomorrow while reinvigorating the protection of our natural resources. After all, those same resources comprise the foundation of its success.

NGO Visionaries

Grassroots organizations that leverage outdoor recreation for conservation gains can be remarkably effective in their own backyards and yet lack the sophistication to attract the recognition they deserve. By connecting their leaders, we strengthen the network of on-the-ground solutions addressing resource issues in communities across America.


As often as not, the single biggest challenge facing nonprofits is funding. We vet NGOs on the basis of their impact, innovation and replicability, and bring the best of them to SHIFT to meet with individuals, foundations and networks that can help advance their work.

Youth Engagement Leaders

The future of our public lands depends on a robust constituency of diverse young champions that accurately reflect the demographical constitution of the country. We create tracks that let tomorrow’s leaders step inside the conversation and help guide it alongside veterans in the outdoor rec, land management and conservation communities.

Conservation Advocates

Traditional conservation organizations built the historical foundation of the environmental movement, but aging memberships and homogeneous demographics threaten their efficacy. By connecting their institutional knowledge and resources with the energy and perspectives of tomorrow’s leaders, we enhance the effectiveness of both.

Public Land Managers And Policy Makers

In the face of inadequate funding and political instability, creative management solutions that engage a diversity of stakeholders are essential for the successful management of our public lands and waters. We invite city, county, state and federal resource planners, managers, researchers, and administrators to address common issues that affect access to and use of our natural resources.

Our Advisory Council

Our efforts are informed by individuals from the various stakeholder groups as follows:

Outdoor Recreation

  • Dan Nordstrom, CEO, Outdoor Research
  • Peter Metcalf, President, Black Diamond

Youth Engagement & DEI

  • Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin, Principal, The Avarna Group
  • Jose Gonzalez, Founder, Latino Outdoors
  • Alyssa Ravasio, Founder & CEO, Hipcamp

Federal Land Management

  • Meryl L. R. Harrell, Senior Advisor, Natural Resources and Environment, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Linda Merigliano, Recreation, Wilderness and Trails Program Manager, Jackson District, Bridger-Teton National Forest
  • Bob Ratcliffe, Director, Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Program, National Park Service
  • Mike Schlafmann, Public Services Staff Officer, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, U.S Forest Service

Conservation Advocates

  • Stacy Bare, Director, Sierra Club Outdoors


  • Yoon Kim, founder, Blogs for Brands; director, Outdoor Blogger Summit

The above framework is intended to enhance and support our strategic planning for 2016, more details of which may be found here. We welcome your feedback and ideas for improvement. Please reach out directly to Christian Beckwith at cb AT with your comments, critiques and suggestions.

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