You Are the Public in Public Lands

Editor’s note updated July 10, 2017: The public comment period has closed.

Today REI Co-op CEO Jerry Stritzke sent the note below to all co-op employees.


Never in my lifetime have millions of acres of public land been threatened as they are right now. Twenty-seven national monuments, many of which are managed by the National Park Service, could be shrunk, resized or even rescinded in the next 100 days if the Department of the Interior does not hear from the outdoor community about why this shouldn’t happen.

We are talking about places like Canyons of the Ancients in Colorado, a place I love and cherish. And, of course, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah. These are natural wonders and there are many others near you. Places our business depends on and that our members love. Places where we form memories with our friends and family.

The monuments under review were designated by presidents from both political parties over the last two decades. That work could be undone, but the co-op isn’t going to stand on the sidelines. We must engage, because if we don’t, these important places could go away. And if that happens, it will be forever.

That’s why, yesterday, we raised our voice on social media, offering employees, members and customers an easy way to share their heartfelt thoughts directly with the Department of the Interior. Already thousands are speaking up about the value of these iconic places to our way of life and to the economy, nationally and locally. For REI, this is just the start of a multi-week effort throughout the review period.

If you choose to, please share your own story at

I believe we can have a big impact. In year one of #OptOutside you—REI employees—generated more than 20,000 social media posts. Imagine what we can do together and with our members for the places we love! REI will always engage constructively, with good intent. We can send the Department of the Interior tens of thousands of comments about safeguarding these special places; it could make a huge difference and help save tens of thousands of acres or more.

The co-op has a special story of stewarding our lands. We have given more than $77 million over the last few decades to organizations dedicated to their health. I am deeply proud to be a part of an organization that has done good work protecting our lands for future generations. On a personal note, my outdoor history is grounded in the incredible public lands in the state of Colorado. They transformed my life and the lives of those I love, in unique and special ways. I cannot imagine a world in which those opportunities wouldn’t be available for my grandchildren and all families in this country.

And so—no matter what your background or motivation—share what national monuments and public lands mean to you. You can bet that people on the other side of this debate are making their voices heard.