America Outdoors Association
America Outdoors Association

September 6, 2012

Register for the December conference now and avoid late fees!

register now



Stand Up Board

Don't forget the standup paddle board session with Chris Stec on Tuesday, December 4.


Be sure to thank our sponsors.

Outdoor Ventures


America Outdoors Association Bulletin

Wilderness Society Recreation Director Organizing Coalition to Improve Non Profits Access to Permits

Investigative Reporter Covers NPS Insurance Requirement Controversy 

AOA to Attend Concessions Management Advisory Board Meeting

Update on State DOT Inspection

AOA Announces Pro Discount Partnership with Orvis

Donate a Trip or Item to the Live or Silent Auction

Wilderness Society Recreation Director Organizing Coalition to Improve Non Profits Access to Permits

Paul Sanford, the TWS Director of Recreation, has a posting on NOLS Wilderness Risk Management Conference page announcing an organizational meeting to form a coalition “to improve access to the national forests!” for non profits and educational groups seeking Forest Service permits. The meeting is scheduled for October 24th in Portland.

The post states: 
“Many of the most desirable destinations for field programs are in the National Forests. However, getting a permit to take a group to a forest can sometimes be challenging for youth programs and nonprofit education organizations.

Several youth, education and conservation organizations are forming a coalition to work on improving access to the National Forests, and we want you to be a part of our coalition! Join us for an exploratory meeting Wednesday afternoon, October 24 at the Red Lion in Portland, OR. We will be meeting from 2-5 pm in the Washington Room on the Lower Level. RSVP to Paul S. Sanford at the Wilderness Society.”

The Forest Service used the last push..... read more.

Share your thoughts on Facebook. Post articles about your services to Wounded Warriors, disabled or diverse populations on the AOA Facebook page.

Investigative Reporter Covers NPS Insurance Requirement Controversy.  AOA to Attend Concessions Management Advisory Board Meeting

The Concessions Management Advisory Board Meeting is scheduled for September 18th at Shenandoah National Park in Luray, Virginia.  NPS is quietly going about the process of setting standards for outfitters operating in the backcountry, which apparently includes risk management and insurance requirements. 

Based on risk management requirements in recent contracts, AOA believes the future of outfitting services in some National Parks could be at risk.  You only have to look at the recommendations for Grand Teton and the Buffalo National River to understand the cause for alarm. 

AON Risk Solutions, NPS’ risk management consultant, provides recommendations on the insurance requirements.  AON's wholly owned subsidiary also sells insurance to the industry through K&K Insurance.  AON’s letter to NPS in January of 2011, which was obtained through efforts of a member of Congress stated: “Based on the loss potential, we consider the $5 million limit to be reasonable for most river rafting and guide situations.”  AON produced no evidence that claims had ever required limits that high and did a very shallow analysis of the costs of coverage by consulting K&K and Philadelphia.  Philadelphia does not write coverage above Class III whitewater.  Climbing concessions are concerned that limits equaling that amount will force them out of business.  A Congressional hearing on August 2nd revealed their concerns and those of other outfitters over risk management agendas that are impossible to fulfill. 

Recently, a reporter from New Markets, a well-respected industry publication, published a detailed article on the controversy and, we think, revealed the inadequacies of NPS’ risk management review process, which provides no opportunity for input from anyone but the consultants whose parent company benefits from the higher recommended limits.

In addition to concerns about the insurance requirements, contract risk management provisions for canoe liveries at Buffalo National River in Arkansas close the river when it reaches Class II conditions unless canoe and kayak livery outfitters can “verify” the swift water paddling skills of their customers. NPS considers the Buffalo to be at “High” levels when it reaches Class II conditions.  Liveries under contract will have to document each customer’s paddling ability, verify their paddling skills and maintain documentation of each customer’s verification before they can rent craft.  At this point, it appears that the customers of concessioners are the only visitors required to have their paddling skills verified.  Self-guided users or customers who rent canoes from someone other than an NPS concessioner are not required to meet those standards, which effectively creates a higher level of risk for visitors since they will be encouraged to avoid qualified and experienced concessioners to access the river.

AOA will attend the upcoming Concessions Management Advisory Board meeting on September 18th to appeal for a subcommittee to review contracts requirements before they are finalized.  Further Congressional oversight is already in the works.

The agenda for the Concessions Management Advisory Board meeting includes: 
• General Commercial Services Program Updates
• Concession Contracting Status Update
• Standards, Evaluations, and Rate Approval Project Update
• Open Discussion of Incentive Programs for Concessioners
• Public Comment—Limited to 3 minutes per person

Update on State DOT Inspections

Remember the most recent bulletin which revealed that an outfitter's bus fleet had been shutdown by a state inspector in Montana who claimed the buses had insufficient emergency exits.  A few calls later the state found the inspector to be off the mark and the outfitter's bus fleet was operational again.

Register for the AOA conference in Daytona Beach today! 

Registration is open and airfares in to Daytona Beach (DAB) are on sale. Delta and US Airways fly into Daytona Beach. Delta’s fares are the lowest as of late August. You may also fly Southwest into Orlando (MCO), which is an hour away, for as low as $408 roundtrip from Salt Lake City (for example) if you book now. Try a Monday December 10th return departure from Orlando for the lowest fare. Do Shuttle will take you from Orlando International to the Daytona Beach Hilton round trip for $74 or call AOA (800-524-4814) to get special Budget discounts cards for a free weekend day or $20 off a weekly rental (limited number of discount cards available). Flights arriving on December 3rd and departing on Monday, December 10th appear to be cheaper than a Friday departure, so stay a couple of extra days to enjoy this wonderful area.

Keynote speaker Patrick O'Malley is sponsored by Outdoor Ventures. O'Malley's topic is Which Social Media Can Really Benefit Your Outfitting Business.

Special thanks to World Wide Outfitters and Guides for sponsoring the luncheon on Tuesday, December 4th. The election of new officers and board members for 2013 through 2015 will be held at this luncheon; the annual meeting of AOA.

RESMARK Systems is sponsoring Keynote Speaker, Matt Thornhill's presentation entitled Marketing to All Generations

More Money Saving Member Benefits:  AOA Announces Pro Discount Partnership with Orvis

It is a pleasure for us to introduce you to the Orvis Pro-Program. This program allows professional fly-fishing guides, and operations such as yours the opportunity to choose from any Orvis products shown in the Fly-Fishing and the Fly-Tying Material catalogs. This is a great value you can extend to any guide that works with you, by simply sharing a copy of the application for them to submit.

Sign up now and receive an additional discount off the regular PRO price for a Helios rod (limit one rod on the special introduction price).  Contact for a signup form.

One of the greatest services Orvis can provide the professional guide is the ability to run their business with the highest quality equipment available. We believe this is the most comprehensive professional discount program available given the breadth of our product line. These products include:

- Rods and reels
- Fly lines, leaders and tippets
- Waders and vests
- Gadgets and accessories
- Flies
- Fly-tying materials
- Technical and rugged outdoor clothing
- Sporting luggage

These products will be available at discount, with most discounts 40% off retail. Ordering will be as easy as dialing our 800 number.

Please remember, Orvis Pro Members are not authorized to advertise their status as "Orvis Pro-Guides" in any marketing vehicles. This program is strictly a professional discount program for your use and enjoyment as a professional guide.

Donate a Trip or Item to the Live or Silent Auction

Every year members donate items to the auctions from their local region to help support member benefits and enable our association to be proactive in issues affecting our member outfitters. Items donated include mementos, vacation trips, merchandise, and other items. We are seeking your support by participating in this crucial fundraising event.  Please consider donating an item for The Apocalypse Party & Live Auction December 5th and (or) the Silent Auction that will be held during the Closing Ice Cream Social December 6. The auction item(s) that you donate will directly benefit our newly unified organization. Last year through the combined auctions we raised more than $10,000 and we have a higher goal of $15,000 this year! Items valued at $200 or more will be assigned to the live auction.
Debi Whitmire is in charge of the auction this year.  Contact her for a form to make your donation.  Please send it in by October 15. If you are donation items instead of trips, bring your items to Daytona and turn them in at the conference registration desk.  Donation forms will also be available for you at the conference registration area.

 Return to top.

America Outdoors Association
PO Box 10847
Knoxville, TN 37939

Phone: 1-800-524-4814

Click here to unsubscribe
America Outdoors
Association Staff

David L. Brown
Robin Brown
Chrystal Graham
Office Phone
Office Fax

Executive Director
Communications Director
Office Manager
E-mail address
To ensure delivery of America Outdoors Association Bulletin, please add '' to your email address book or Safe Sender List. If you are still having problems receiving our communications, see our white-listing page for more details:
Annual Conference Information Member Benefits Hot Issues Join

P.O. Box 10847, Knoxville, TN 37939