The 2016 SHIFT Festival: Outdoor Rec and Our Public Lands

SH-FT-comping-poster-layout-lowres-b2-artThe 2016 SHIFT Festival runs from October 13-15, in Jackson, WY. Its theme, “Outdoor Rec & Our Public Lands,” reflects its focus on three main topics: the public land transfer movement; funding for public lands; and next-generation engagement and cultural relevancy.


Set at the forefront of this year’s festival is The SHIFT Summit, an in-depth exploration of the opportunities and challenges at the nexus of outdoor recreation and conservation.

The SHIFT Summit will be held at the Snow King Resort Hotel Oct. 13-15. It includes panel discussions, breakout groups, and networking opportunities built around the festival’s main theme.

The 2016 SHIFT Festival’s evening entertainment, which will be held at the Center for the Arts, includes:

New for 2016, The Emerging Leaders Program will prepare the next generation of leaders to help guide the outdoor recreation/conservation partnership. Together with representatives of the 2016 SHIFT Award nominees, the Emerging Leaders will plug into The SHIFT Summit to help facilitate a deep drill of the opportunities and challenges at the heart of our common interests.

Also new for this year, The Offices of Outdoor Recreation Workshop will help participants create offices of outdoor recreation in their states, while The Cultural Relevancy Workshop will help participants navigate the DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) landscape.

For a complete schedule of SHIFT 2016 events, click here

See below for more information.


The 2016 SHIFT Festival will explore the question:

How can outdoor recreation help keep our public lands public, healthy, and accessible to all Americans?

To answer this question, The 2016 SHIFT Summit will feature three major topics, each with a core set of discussion questions:

  1. Proposed Public Land Transfers: How do we work together to keep America’s public lands and waters public?
  2. Funding for Public Lands: How do we secure the long-term funding for public lands necessary to keep them healthy and well-managed?
  3. Next-Generation Engagement and Cultural Relevancy: How do we insure that our public lands remain relevant and accessible to new and diverse groups of Americans, today and in the future?

The objectives of the  2016 SHIFT Festival are to:

  • Create a hub for stakeholders who do not ordinarily interact to discuss challenges and opportunities, exchange information and share experiences;
  • Strengthen the natural coalitions among the diverse sectors attending; and
  • Engage sectors of the American experience typically absent from conservation, land management and outdoor recreation decision-making in the conversation about its future

Background and Objectives

SHIFT’s substantive focus exists at the intersection of recreation, conservation and diversity, equity and inclusion (“DEI”). At the intersection of the three sectors is connecting people and place—a recognition that at its core, these groups are united by the need for access to public, outdoor places. SHIFT’s capacity to bring together existing initiatives, groups, and networks that are all working on similar issues but might otherwise operate independently promotes greater information sharing and improved coordination among natural allies, which in turn results in a more unified movement for the protection of our public lands.

SHIFT’s goal is to help advance the collective agenda of its stakeholder coalition—an alliance of the outdoor recreation, conservation, land management, youth engagement and outdoor media communities—by aligning and amplifying existing, complementary efforts at the heart of the outdoor recreation and conservation relationship. By integrating young people of color and millennials, urban and otherwise, into the coalition’s work in substantive and meaningful ways, SHIFT will help expand the next generation of users, stewards and stakeholders while developing a diverse workforce that reflects the American demographic.

2016 SHIFT Summit Sub-Themes

Public land transfers

With several bills proposed in western states that attempt to transfer public land management from federal agencies to state control, the conservation and recreation communities see the proposed public land transfer as a significant and urgent threat facing public lands. Both communities have been active on this topic, sometimes in coordination and sometimes not.

At SHIFT in October, we will:

  • Build bridges between the groups working on the topic
  • Compare notes and identify opportunities to align efforts and messaging
  • Strengthen messaging and information around the economic (recreation and tourism) impacts of the public land transfer movement

Funding for public lands

Long-term reliable funding for public land management agencies is directly related to the public land transfer, since budget cuts limit agencies’ capacity to effectively manage public lands. With agency budgets going to fighting wildfires and a growing backlog of deferred maintenance, the issue, which currently lacks a unified voice, continues to grow more pressing.

At SHIFT in October, we will:

  • Share information on how investments in public lands contribute to local economies through recreation and tourism
  • Share success stories and discuss other creative funding options for our public lands
  • Elevate the increasing role for and value of volunteer stewardship and other forms of partnership that engage the next generation in public lands, highlighting success stories and discussing how this potentially powerful tool can be further leveraged.

Next Generation and Cultural Relevance

Insuring public lands are relevant to new and diverse groups, including the next generation of Americans, requires improved diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and a cultural shift. Establishing a stronger culture of stewardship and increasing support for public lands is key to their longterm viability. At SHIFT in October, we will:

  • Insure diverse participation to facilitate a meaningful and valuable conversation about DEI
  • Create a framework for thinking about DEI and assessing progress on the topic
  • Offer opportunity for honest self-reflection on what is working and not working on DEI efforts in the outdoor recreation/conservation space
  • Help individual organizations advance DEI in their organizations by highlighting successes, and challenges, among organizations that have been working on the issue

A complete schedule of events may be found here.


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