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America Outdoors Association

June 30, 2009

 

Terry Jones, Founder of Travelocity to speak at AOA meeting in December.

America Outdoors Association Bulletin

SBA ARC Loan Program Offers Viable Businesses Bridge Loans

Terry Jones, Founder of Travelocity, to Keynote AOA Conference in Reno

Travel Promotion Act Runs into Roadblock in the Senate

Agencies Revising Wilderness Management Policies and Wild and Scenic River Management Policies

Park Service Employees Not the Happiest among Federal Employees

SBA ARC Loan Program Offers Viable Businesses Bridge Loans

The Small Business Administration began issuing America Capital Recovery Loans on June 15th.  These loans offer up to $35,000 in short term relief if your business has a valid business and marketing plan and meets other qualifications.  If your small business is stressed meeting expenses during these economic times, this loan program may provide relief.

SBA’s America’s Recovery Capital Loan Program can provide up to $35,000 in short-term relief for viable small businesses facing immediate financial hardship to help ride out the current uncertain economic times and return to profitability.  Each small business is limited to one ARC loan.

ARC loans will be offered by some SBA lenders for as long as funding is available or until September 30, 2010, whichever comes first.  SBA Participant Lender Fact Sheet   Funding is limited so, if you are interested in this loan, act fast.

SBA has been reaching out to some AO members, encouraging them to apply for other types of loans with no fees.
 

Terry Jones, Founder of Travelocity, to Keynote AOA Conference in Reno

America Outdoors Association is proud to announce that Terry Jones, the founder of Travelocity and the current Chairman of Kayak.com will give the keynote address on The Business of Innovation at AOA’s Marketing and Management conference in Reno on December 8th.  An innovation exercise will also be part of the presentation so participants will walk away with strategies necessary to start the change process in their business.  Many speakers talk about the future, Terry gives audiences step by step plans to create it.  Jones knows the outfitting business having spent his family vacation this year on an outfitted trip.

Terry Jones brings audiences a unique perspective on the business of innovation. Terry took a team of 10 and built a multi-billion dollar enterprise based on an innovative idea that most of his colleagues thought would fail. Terry created a culture of innovation where new ideas were celebrated, mistakes became fast learning loops, and employees learned that anyone can innovate. Terry will take the audience through the steps to nurture new ideas and the organizational structures, funding policies and team members required for success.

AOA’s 21st Annual International Marketing and Management Conference will convene in Reno, NV December 8 – 10.  For more information go to http://www.americaoutdoors.org
 

Travel Promotion Act Runs into Roadblock in the Senate

The Travel Promotion Act, S. 1023, which seeks to establish a $200 million dollar fund to attract foreign travelers to the U.S., ran into a procedural road block in the Senate when it failed to achieve enough votes to override a filibuster threat.  The bill proposes to raise $100 million from assessments on the travel industry and $100 million from additional fees through the visa waiver program to establish a fund to promote inbound international travel to the U.S.  A nonprofit corporation will be established with authority to levy and enforce fees on segments of the travel industry.  If you benefit from foreign travel, this bill is for you.  If you don’t then it is just another fee and tax you’ll have to pay and keep up with.  Senator Reid is a primary backer of the bill, but many delegations are split.  There is no question that the U.S. is losing market share to other nations for international travel.  Many state tourism offices are supporting the bill.  To see who is supporting the bill and who is not, click HERE.

Agencies Revising Wilderness Management Policies and Wild and Scenic River Management Policies

An upcoming article in the America Outdoors Association newsletter will reveal the potential issues arising for some outfitters operating in wilderness and on Wild and Scenic Rivers.  Some W&S Rivers will probably not see much change, but a recent ruling on the Merced River inside Yosemite National Park is being used to push the agencies toward stricter management of use to maintain the outstanding values of designated rivers. 

The National Park Service has established a workgroup to develop new strategies for authorizing use in National Parks, in general, and on Wild and Scenic Rivers in particular.  Chris Brown, Director of Wilderness and Wild and Scenic River for the Forest Service, says the Forest Service will soon revise its Wild and Scenic River management policies.  The Forest Service is currently revising its wilderness management policies.

On Thursday, December 10th a program at AOA’s International Marketing and Management Conference will examine the processes in place to revise management policies in wilderness and on wild and scenic rivers.  Chris Brown, wilderness director for the Forest Service, and his counterpart at BLM, Gary Marsh will be among those speaking about these initiatives.  We also expect to have participation from the National Park Service.

Park Service Employees Not the Happiest among Federal Employees

The National Park Service, according to a recent survey of federal employees, ranked 160th among the 216 federal agencies surveyed by bestplacestowork.org.  Concerns about leadership, process and crisis  management were among the reasons cited for low morale.  The comments of NPS employees are particularly interesting because they reflect a field staff burdened by the agency’s overbearing bureaucracy.  To view the report go to http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2009/06/survey-says-national-park-service-far-best-government-agency-work

Some commented upon reading the report that you could never tell from their interactions with visitors that things were not well behind the scenes.  But one ranger wrote the following summary:

"We have become an agency seemingly obsessed with process over progress, tethering our field employees to their computers in order to feed meaningless databases that force you to report the same information across several different platforms. Rather than expend the time and energy at central offices to extract the information that is already available in one system or another it's just easier to have the parks report on it again in some slightly modified form. The time wasted is incredible - especially since we fail to make the IT investments necessary to provide the field with the necessary bandwidth to feed these resource greedy computer applications - sure, they work well in central offices but please remember that in remote park areas the information highway often turns into a badly-rutted dirt road."

No one understands this frustration better than many concessioners who pay enormous fees and then burn the midnight oil submitting endless reports which seemed designed to keep someone employed. 

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