Monday, October 26, 2015

Outdoors industry muscles into politics of public land

The backcountry can be a great place to escape – except when it comes to politics. That’s especially true in western swing states such as Nevada and Colorado where political experts and special interest groups are already trying to galvanize allies and marginalize enemies for the 2016 campaign cycle. And when it comes to winning votes from outdoors enthusiasts public lands become the political battlefield. Look no further than a recent push from the Outdoor Industry Association to highlight swing state voters’ affinity for keeping public land in Nevada and Colorado in the hands of the federal government. The association, which represents about 4,000 outdoor recreation supply manufacturers, distributors, retailers and others, hired the polling firm Public Opinion Strategies to highlight opposition among likely voters to proposals that would prompt the federal government to unload public land holdings. “We definitely wanted to get some insight into the political viewpoints of folks who are ... part of the outdoor recreation economy,” said Gareth Martins, spokesman for the group.  Martins said the association has made political contributions in the past and it maintains a policy agenda on its website that’s dedicated to recreation access to public land in the United States and global trade issues. They published results of the Nevada and Colorado poll to coincide with the upcoming Republican presidential candidate debate in Boulder, Colo., on Wednesday. The poll of 500 likely voters in each state showed Democrat, Republican and independent-leaning respondents oppose state government takeover of federal land...more

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