Photo: Raisa Nastukova /Shutterstock

How Outdoor Alliance Has Saved the Natural Places We Love For 10 Years, and How You Can Help

by Tim Wenger Mar 22, 2024

Regenerative tourism is all the buzz in 2024. The term goes beyond sustainable travel and aims to have a positive impact on the destination’s environment and community, leaving it better than how it was found. This also can mean advocating for a better planet before you ever head out the door. Outdoor Alliance, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, is celebrating 10 years of doing just that across public lands in the United States.

The organization’s unique approach to conservation and advocacy emboldens everyday travelers and recreators to band together to leave a positive mark on their favorite places – and it’s working. The group’s coalition has collectively protected some 40 million acres of land over the past decade, much of which is accessible to the public for outdoor recreation. The coolest part is that anyone can get involved today and make their next trip into the outdoors that much more rewarding.

Celebrating a decade of effective advocacy

“Everybody’s got a place that they love, everybody’s got a place that they care about,” says Outdoor Alliance founder and CEO Adam Cramer in a video produced by SolMtn Studios for the organization’s 10th anniversary. “[Outdoor Alliance is all about] getting kayakers, backcountry skiers, kayakers, mountain bikers, all leveraging their love of place to preserve and protect places at scale.”

Outdoor Alliance combines 10 national organizations across the US that advocate for the protection of public lands. If you’re an avid outdoor recreator, you may have heard of – or even contributed to – some of the organizations that make up the coalition, which include the Surfrider Foundation, International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), American Alpine Club, and more.

The video above highlights a particular successful advocacy effort, the John D. Dingell Public Lands Package. WIth the support of its coalition and the general public who voiced support through the coalition, Outdoor Alliance lobbied DC to protect more than 14 million acres and permanently reauthorize a major water protection fund. The result is better trail access throughout the 13,420-acre Cerro Del Yuta Wilderness and 8,120-acre Rio San Antonio Wilderness of New Mexico.

How you can get involved

cerro del yuta wilderness

The John D. Dingell Public Lands Package protected more than 14 million acres including the Cerro Del Yuta Wilderness of New Mexico. Photo: Dylan R.N. Crabb/Shutterstock

Think of getting involved with the alliance and its coalition partners as a contribution to conservation and restorative travel – their work takes the coalition to Washington, DC, to advocate for conservation efforts and the end result is better public spaces for recreators, improved habitat for plant and wildlife and cleaner air for all to breathe. Their platform allows travelers to actively participate in projects that benefit the broader recreation environment.

Outdoor Alliance offers many ways you can help. The quickest is to visit its website and fill out its pre-generated forms to send letters to your local government representatives advocating for issues like natural climate solutions, equitable access, and protecting land and water. Financial donations are accepted, and all coalition members routinely host their own in-person volunteer opportunities and letter-writing campaigns through their websites.

You can also partake in conservation and regenerative travel efforts outside of the alliance itself. This can involve supporting businesses with sustainable practices, cultural immersion experiences or even volunteering for conservation efforts. The core idea is that tourism should be a two-way street, enriching both the visitors and the places they explore. Organizations like Outdoor Alliance make it easy to get involved – all it takes is a few clicks and a desire to do the right thing.

“We’re able to turn that power into on-the-ground results,” Cramer says in the video.

Discover Matador