SHIFT 2017 to Focus on Outdoor Rec, Public Lands and the Economy

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper advocates for more public lands at SHIFT in 2016. The 2017 SHIFT Festival will continue its focus on public lands by exploring their role in a sustainable economy.

The 2017 SHIFT Festival, which runs from Nov. 1-3, will explore the relationship between outdoor recreation, public lands and the American economy.

More information on 2017’s focus and how it fits into The Center for Jackson Hole’s broader focus may be found here.

Outdoor recreation is one of the largest economic drivers in the US, generating $646 billion and 6.1 million direct jobs each year. Though the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act of 2016—which directs the Bureau of Economic Analysis to assess and analyze the outdoor recreation economy’s impact on the overall U.S. economy—passed with bipartisan support, this powerful argument, of outdoor rec on public lands as an economic engine, is greatly underleveraged in discussions regarding the value of protecting them.

Public lands play a fundamental role in a sustainable outdoor recreation economy. The quality of life they permit improves the health and wellbeing of citizens and attracts not only recreationists, but also tourists, baby boomers retiring to greener pastures, and entrepreneurs, who in turn create economic diversity in communities adjacent to public lands.

Tracks at SHIFT in November will focus on the roles state offices of outdoor recreation can play in protecting healthy lands and waters, both public and private; the development of entrepreneurship in mountain and rural communities, which allows these communities to sidestep the boom-bust cycles inherent to an extraction-based economy; and the role that outdoor rec business alliances can play in public lands advocacy.

Other topics will explore the economic value of green space to urban communities, the importance of hunting and fishing licenses and the funds they generate to the protection of public lands, and the economic impact of time outside.

Immediately preceding the 2017 SHIFT Festival, the 2017 Emerging Leaders Program will train a regionally, ideologically and culturally diverse group of men and women between the ages of 21-30 in the following:

  • Familiarization with subject matter to be explored at SHIFT
  • Instruction on how to then lead the conversations at SHIFT
  • Tools and skills to help the Emerging Leaders engage in discussions critical to protecting public lands
  • Export models that allow them to share the results with their communities

SHIFT 2017: Core Elements

While the issues SHIFT tackles vary from year to year, the context for each year’s program always includes the following foundation-level elements.

Cultural Relevancy: Establishing a stronger culture of stewardship and increasing support for America’s lands and waters is key to their longterm viability. This, in turn, relies on insuring that they are relevant to all Americans. Rather than single out issues related to cultural relevancy, SHIFT weaves it into the fabric of its work, via strategic programming and The Emerging Leaders Program. Cultural relevancy is not a tangential issue we address. It’s part of our perspective, and a fundamental component of how we approach our work.

Collective Impact: SHIFT uses The Principles for Advancing Recreation and Conservation (or, as the State of Colorado called them when they adopted them, “The SHIFT Principles”) as the guidelines for its work. These Principles unite natural allies around the common goal of protecting the places in which we love to play. By providing a unified framework for the stewardship of these places, The Principles increase the effectiveness of our individual efforts.

Storytelling: The stories of how we interact with the land are the ties that bind us, for they allow us to understand the commonality behind our commitment. Storytelling is an integral part of our work. In 2017, keynotes, podcasting, film interviews, and “TED”-style talks by Emerging Leaders will be complemented by messaging and social media workshops that teach participants how to effectively deliver their stories to their target audiences.

Tickets for the 2017 SHIFT Festival will go on sale Aug. 1.

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