REI Co-op applauds historic bipartisan vote for public lands

Feb 26, 2019

WASHINGTON – REI, the nation’s largest consumer co-op, applauds today’s resounding 363-62 vote in the House of Representatives for passage of the Natural Resources Management Act. Following the Senate’s 92-8 vote Feb. 12, 455 Republicans and Democrats across both chambers have now emphatically restated the nation’s shared love for its public lands and shown that people of all political persuasions can be #UnitedOutside. 

“This bill is proof that, even in our current political climate, there are issues both Republicans and Democrats can agree on. It reinforces our belief that time outdoors has the power to unite us,” says Eric Artz, REI Co-op interim president and CEO. “REI has worked for years with elected officials on both sides of the aisle on legislation that protects our public lands and creates access to the outdoors. The degree of bipartisanship is historic and worth celebrating. We’re proud to see this bill move to the White House and we encourage the President to sign it.”

“I’m also very pleased that the bill designates the Mountains to Sound Greenway here in the Pacific Northwest as a National Heritage Area,” says Artz, president-elect of the Greenway Trust board of directors. “This is a historic step in a more than 25-year journey for the Greenway, which is a national model for stewardship and conservation.”

Passage of the Natural Resources Management Act will conserve millions of acres of public lands, establish new space for National Parks, and permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund – a program of critical importance to the long-term health of the $412 billion outdoor recreation economy. It also sends funding to state and local governments to support park and trail projects close to home, fosters stewardship of our public lands, and will make it easier for families with children to get outside through the Every Kid Outdoors Act.

“We haven’t seen such an expansive statement of support for the outdoors and our public lands by Congress in a decade,” says Marc Berejka, REI Co-op director of government and community affairs. “REI has worked alongside the individuals and organizations that spent years advocating for various parts of this package. We’re especially grateful for the leadership of Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Maria Cantwell, and Reps. Raúl Grijalva and Rob Bishop, in making this landmark legislation possible.”   

About the REI Co-op

REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of more than 20 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 168 locations in 39 states and the District of Columbia. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at, REI Outlet or the REI shopping app. REI isn’t just about gear. Adventurers can take the trip of a lifetime with REI’s active adventure travel company that runs more than 100 itineraries across the country. In many communities where REI has a presence, professionally trained instructors share their expertise by hosting beginner-to advanced-level classes and workshops about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to—and steward—the outdoor places that inspire us all.