Let’s just say that’s a lot of river sandal tread to protect our nation’s waterways and other public lands. Putting its money where its mouth is, footwear maker KEEN recently wrapped up its Live Monumental Road Trip, traveling 7,500 miles and gathering more than 30,000 signatures to advocate for the protection of 3 million acres of public land…
The nine-week road trip started in Portland, Oregon, and ended in Washington, D.C., traveling 7,500 miles across 25 states in a bright yellow, renovated 1976 GMC RV celebrating our natural playgrounds and advocating for the permanent protection of more than three million acres of public land. Along the campaign, the KEEN crew also collected more than 30,000 petition signatures, rallied support from more than 40 businesses, and hosted more than 47 events – including a reception on Capitol Hill that marked the finale of the 2015 tour.
The two main areas KEEN visited that affect paddlers are the Owyhee River in Owyhee Canyonlands, and the Birthplace of Rivers in the Gauley headwaters of West Virginia.
“Monument designation would help preserve access to these whitewater treasures,” says KEEN marketing director Linda Balfour. “Both also have ample opportunity for flat water paddling.”
“The real call for paddlers,” she adds, “is that these and the other areas we are advocating for are public lands that hold very special recreation lands. As outdoor enthusiasts, we need to join the public conversation about how those lands are managed, not only to mitigate immediate threats, but to preserve our recreation legacy for generations to come.”
In addition to recreating with, engaging, and educating thousands of supporters about public lands and national monuments, the campaign urged the Obama Administration to protect five specific areas in the U.S. that have environmental, recreational, and historic significance, and designate them as national monuments. The areas include: Mojave Desert, CA; Owyhee Canyonlands, OR; Birthplace of Rivers, WV; Boulder-White Clouds, ID; and Gold Butte, NV. A victory during the campaign came on Aug. 7 when Idaho’s majestic Boulder-White Clouds was permanently protected as Wilderness.
From collaborating with local, regional, and national organizations to raising awareness of public lands in communities around the country and sitting down with government policy makers at the local, state, and federal levels, the Live Monumental movement sculpted a strong foundation in which to build on for 2016, says Balfour. “At its core the campaign celebrates our lands, and was designed to immerse with people across the U.S. to rally support, enjoy our natural surroundings, and have lots of fun in the process – with the RV as a centerpiece for the mission,” she says.
KEEN invites river runners and others to join the company in asking President Obama to preserve these lands by designating them National Monuments. The first step is to sign the Live Monumental petition at livemonumental.com/petition. Those with personal experiences on these rivers are asked to post them with #LiveMonumental and ask @potus to preserve them for all time.
“Through the Live Monumental road trip, we had the privilege of experiencing first hand some of the most treasured landscapes in America,” adds Balfour. “Along the way we connected with thousands of people with a shared passion for our natural playgrounds and preserving the public lands on which we play. We look forward to carrying the momentum and enthusiasm generated by the trip into 2016.”
Major focuses for KEEN’s 2016 campaign include amplifying local outreach and support in and around Live Monumental’s targeted locations, attracting advocacy from more businesses, and attaining a critical mass of signatures before President Obama leaves office with the hope of having the remaining four areas preserved as national monuments.
For more info and a road trip video, CLICK HERE