The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) has partnered with THOR Industries to establish a coalition to help ensure everyone feels welcome in all facets of outdoor recreation activities.
The Together Outdoors coalition is being established to support and equip the recreation economy in raising awareness of equity and inclusion issues in outdoor experiences and provide education and awareness to help eliminate existing barriers. Open to cross-sector participation, the Together Outdoors coalition will provide training, resources, grants and other ways for manufacturers, retailers, service providers, stakeholders and individuals in the outdoor industry to support the advancement of equity and inclusion in all forms of outdoor recreation and connect with advocacy groups. THOR is funding the development, creation and initial operations of the coalition as part of a multi-year commitment.
“Maximizing access to outdoor recreation is a core objective of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable,” said Lindsey Davis, vice president of ORR, in an announcement. “Achieving that goal requires more than building infrastructure and creating new parks – it also means enacting policies and partnerships that ensure inclusivity and access to all Americans – no matter who they are or where they live. ORR is proud to be part of this important initiative and we look forward to helping to build Together Outdoors to ensure welcoming and equitable access to outdoor recreation.”
“We've listened and heard many of the deep and long-running concerns and obstacles underrepresented groups face when pursuing outdoor adventure,” said Bob Martin, THOR president and CEO in the announcement. “Enjoying and appreciating nature is important for health and mental well-being and should be welcoming places for everyone. THOR is committed to helping advance outdoor equity and inclusion, so all feel welcome to Go Everywhere and Stay Anywhere.”
The groundwork for the coalition started last year through listening sessions THOR Industries conducted with under-represented individuals in the outdoors and other Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) leaders. Based on their lived experiences, the common learning was that under-represented people often feel unwelcome in the outdoors. With increased awareness and understanding, THOR partnered with ORR to establish a coalition to help impact all sectors of outdoor recreation. The coalition has been and will continue to be designed, operated and informed by close partnerships with experts and others on the frontlines of creating a more inclusive outdoor experience for all.
"The work of diversifying the outdoors is only measurable by the individuals and orgs committed to making it happen. It is not easy, as it demands action, not just words. I'm happy to see THOR join the efforts of so many others, by engaging its partners and community in this work, this is how we make progress. I look forward to seeing this coalition in action," said Teresa Baker, founder of the Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge.
The Together Outdoors’ coalition will be shaped by input from an advisory committee of grassroots organizers and advocates with deep experience in the challenges faced by underrepresented groups in their pursuit of outdoor recreation and adventure, along with input from outdoor business leaders, federal agencies and conservation organizations.