Bruce is involved in a number of great organizations and tells about this work with the recreation industry, the timber industry, National Trails Day and a unique program involving Rotary Clubs. We also talk about how the Capitol Christmas Tree gets chosen and transported to DC.
First Exposure to the Outdoors
I think I’m like a lot of like a lot of folks in that for me it was with the boy scouts, that was my introduction. I lived in suburban Boston and didn’t have access to a lot of real wilderness especially at that age. I did find a real affinity to some of the local open spaces and parks that were part of our local surroundings. Then where it really kicked in for me was after college. I got a job for a company called Trek International doing camping trips in North America, Europe and North Africa and I did that for seven years and was hooked.
Things we talked about
I would say that from all of my perceptions of what the industry or alliance does I think they are very successful in many ways. Way more successful than we ever were and have come a long way.
Often times the first time you go to Washington and depending on your connections and depending on what your messages are who you’re meeting with oftentimes you’re going to get a low level staffer or maybe even an intern. And what I’ve come to understand very early on is you should treat them just as you would meeting with that member. Because in some cases they will go right back to the member because they’re excited about something or they’re really interested in something.
But also more importantly many of those young people who I met 30 years ago are now members of Congress. I was working with Cory Gardner who is a senator from Colorado when he was a staffer for Wayne Allard. A lot of a lot of what happens in Washington becomes of comes from relationships.
I didn’t go in there you know slamming the timber industry or flaming oil. I needed this. I mean a Continental Divide Trail. We spent 30 years working on went through you know if you were to look through the topography a lot of that was oil gas a lot of that was mining a lot of waste raising. And if I had gone in with guns blazing against all of those other stakeholders I would get nowhere. You know I would have been you know disenfranchised by the converse of that was by working with them. I got a lot more done with members of Congress than I ever would have if I had taken sort of a polarizing view which I think unfortunately has been you know the way that people fight to get things done. You know depending on which way that you know majorities in Congress you know you may be great one year you know White House the devil is in the wind I think to these things.
I mean there was legislation that I worked on back here I thought it was a no brainer to love it and you would be down to the wire and it wouldn’t happen. Well you know guess what. Fifteen years later it gets slipped into an omnibus bill and you get it done. But you do go through that whole period of feeling like you’re just banging your head against a wall or you know. How can people not understand how this is good for everyone. Right. And then ultimately because you developed that relationship because you’ve had that perseverance because you know being able to demonstrate the many benefits to the country or when an issue is good know I think a lot of these legislators go back there with truly the best edge they’re here because they love our country and they want to do things that are better then they get caught up in the machine back in a ball game.
Other Outdoor Activities
Hiking, Climbing, Mtn Biking, Skiiing
My Life as an Explorer by Sven Hedin
Forever Green by Chuck Leavell
American Canopy by Eric Rutkow
Young Men and Fire by Norman Maclean
Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
Wilderness Warrior by Douglas Brinkley
Best Gear Purchase under $100
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