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Educators To Join Leading Outdoor Manufacturers at Capitol Hill Event on June 14

WASHINGTON, D.C. - May 1, 2000 -- The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and Outward Bound USA, two leading non-profit wilderness education organizations, have combined under the Wilderness Education Coalition (WEC) banner to support the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association's (SGMA) Taste of the Outdoors exhibition and conference on Capitol Hill, June 14.

The WEC joins event sponsor ORCA, the trade association of the outdoor industry, and co-supporter American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA), in planning a focused advocacy effort on behalf of human-powered outdoor recreation.

Some 400 Members of Congress and their key aides are expected to attend an exhibition in the Rayburn House Office Building cafeteria and courtyard that has become a springtime tradition on the Hill for the past five years. Complementing the Taste event will be a series of in-office meetings with an estimated 60-70 Members - appointments that will emphasize the importance of public policy initiatives which enhance participation in outdoor recreation.

Stefan J. Jackson, NOLS public policy manager, believes, "The Taste is a great event for NOLS. It is an ideal venue for letting policy and lawmakers know about our organization's educational mission of teaching wilderness skills, leadership, and environmental ethics."

Adds Craig Mackey, public policy liaison for Outward Bound USA, "Education is a key benefit millions receive from the outdoor experiences they receive on public lands. The Taste allows Outward Bound and others to demonstrate to Congress and the agencies how important wilderness and public lands are to Americans of all ages."

ORCA and SGMA members already committed to the Capitol Hill exhibition include: American Recreation Products, Backpacker Magazine, The Coleman Company, Confluence, Dagger Canoe, Eagle Creek, Lowe Alpine Systems, Miller Freeman Sports Group, Moving Comfort, National Geographic Maps, Outside Magazine, Sierra Designs, Slumberjack, Sportif USA, Swiss Army Brands, Thor-Lo, Wyoming Wear, and WPC Brands. From the fly-fishing industry, the AFFTA contingent consists of: Abel Reels, Cortland Line, Hodgman, Ross Reels, Sage, Scott Rods, and Streamworks.

Exhibit space for the event is limited. Manufacturers and retailers interested in participating either as exhibitors or as attendees should contact Myrna Johnson of ORCA (303-444-3353 x 101;, or the SGMA's Sandy Briggs (561-840-1171; for more details.

The National Outdoor Leadership School, based in Lander, Wyoming, is the non-profit leader in wilderness skills and leadership education. NOLS offers over 65 different two-week to three-month courses in the world's most spectacular classrooms. For more information: 307-332-5300 or

Outward Bound USA, the non-profit leader in wilderness challenge and adventure education, is comprised of five wilderness schools and two urban centers, serving over 30,000 students annually. For more information: 914-424-4000 or

NOLS and Outward Bound USA, as well as the Student Conservation Association and Wilderness Inquiry, formed the Wilderness Education Coalition in 1997 with a mission that emphasizes education, stewardship and social integration in the backcountry.

SGMA is a not-for-profit trade association representing more than 2,400 North American manufacturers and distributors of athletic equipment, footwear and apparel. Its membership includes leading outdoor corporations that employ thousands of Americans. ORCA is the 1,200-member trade association for the $5 billion human-powered outdoor recreation industry, based in Boulder, Colo. AFFTA, headquartered in Kelso, Wash., is the voice of the fly-fishing industry, representing 304 member fly-fishing manufacturers, sales representatives, retailers, outfitters, and specialty media.Press contact:

Press Contact

Bruce Palmer
National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS)

Jeff Blumenfeld
Blumenfeld and Assoc., Inc. for SGMA


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