REI statement on the passage of the Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act

Legislation unanimously passes U.S. Senate and House 

Nov 10, 2020

SEATTLE – REI Co-op has long believed in the power of the outdoors to heal and restore, even in the most challenging circumstances. Today, the co-op applauds the passing of the Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act, a bipartisan measure that will connect veterans to the healing benefits of time in nature.

The Accelerating Veterans Recovery Outdoors Act, as part of the Veterans COMPACT Act, will foster collaboration between the federal agencies that care for veterans and those that manage public lands. The legislation establishes an interagency task force, chaired by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Secretary of the Interior, to identify barriers and make recommendations to increase the use of public lands and other outdoor spaces for veteran medical treatment, specifically for those struggling with post-traumatic stress.

"No one deserves the solace and healing that can be found in nature more than those who have sacrificed everything for our country," said REI CEO Eric Artz. "It is essential that the outdoor places we love become a more widely used treatment venue for the Americans who have fought for this country."

Research has shown that access to nature combined with group activities has positive therapeutic effects on veterans, especially those struggling with combat-related injuries or post-traumatic stress. In addition to supporting this recent legislation, REI has also invested in research to better understand the relationship between time in nature and human wellbeing including studies at the University of Washington, University of California, Berkley, University of California, San Francisco and Harvard University.

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 23 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 188 locations in 42 states and the District of Columbia. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at REI.comREI 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.