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America Outdoors Association

Holiday Lights in downtown Knoxville during December.

Keynote Speaker Ron Rosenberg

America Outdoors Association Bulletin

Guaranteed Ideas to Sustain Your Business in this Economy 

West Virginia Supreme Court Hears Appeal of Application of Federal Maritime Law to Rafting

Tribes Using National Historic Preservation Act to Influence Activities in National Forests and on Private Property

More Park Units May Be Open to Mountain Biking

Notice of Vote on AO By-Laws Change

Guaranteed Ideas to Sustain Your Business in this Economy

We guarantee that you’ll learn new strategies to improve your marketing and enhance your management when you attend the America Outdoors’ Marketing and Management conference programs,  If not, we will refund your registration fee.  Ron Rosenberg’s Mystery Shopping research of outfitter trips found common, important changes every outfitter he visited should make to enhance the promotion and delivery of their experiences.  He spent over three weeks this summer visiting and recording his experiences at a guest ranch, on a rafting trip, bicycle tour and multi-sport international destination.  This custom program will be worth the price of admission.

“I always return from the conference with an excitement to apply new ideas and a renewed enthusiasm for the upcoming season”, said Keith Jenkins from Quest Expeditions.   I'm excited that some of our key staff will have the opportunity to experience the conference this year and share in my enthusiasm to begin a new season.”

Rosenberg suggests that smart companies employing new strategies and technologies will survive in this economy.  “Those who do business as usual will not,” he says. 

We promise that AO will provide you with the opportunity to develop new strategies that will help you sustain your business through an economic downturn. 

This is the last week to save $75 on early registration.  Register now by clicking HERE.

West Virginia Supreme Court Hears Appeal of Application of Federal Maritime Law to Rafting

Last week the West Virginia Supreme Court heard arguments appealing a Circuit Court ruling that applied federal maritime law to a rafting accident that occurred on the Shenandoah River in West Virginia in 2004.  Even though this stretch of river is not federally navigable, Jefferson Circuit Judge Thomas W. Steptoe ruled earlier this year that federal maritime law applied to the rafting activity, that it superseded the West Virginia Whitewater Responsibility Act, and that the assumption of risk agreements and that assumption of risks under common law were not valid.  America Outdoors filed an amicus brief in the case arguing that regardless of navigability status, state statutes should apply to rafting.  The plaintiffs include the family of one customer who died and 13 guests who claimed injuries, mostly from emotional distress.

West Virginia outfitters were optimistic that the Circuit Court decision on federal maritime law will be overturned and that State law will prevail in the case.  A ruling is expected in the near future.  We will keep you informed. 

Tribes Using National Historic Preservation Act to Influence Activities in National Forests and on Private Property

The 1992 Amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) require all Federal agencies to consult with Indian Tribes [1] or Native Hawaiian organizations for undertakings which may affect properties of traditional religious and cultural significance on or off Tribal lands.Section 36 CFR 800.2(c)(2)(ii)(A) states that "the agency official [2] shall ensure that consultation in the Section 106 process provides the Indian Tribe or Native Hawaiian organization a reasonable opportunity to identify its concerns about historic properties, including those of traditional religious and cultural importance, articulate its views on the undertaking's effects on such properties, and participate in the resolution of adverse effects." Regulations implementing Section 106 of the NHPA, effective August 5, 2004, require Federal agencies to consult with any tribe that may attach religious and cultural significance to resources affected by an agency action, whether those resources are on or off tribal lands.  In some western states, state agencies must also abide by similar regulations.

In New Mexico, the Forest Service is citing the law to “mitigate” activities on National Forests.  Property owners must consult with five tribes, including the Navajo Nation and Pueblo of Acoma, on any activities requiring state or federal permits.  Activities on adjacent private property may be subject to consultation if the Forest Service issues a permit to the landowner. 

In New Mexico over 1,100 square miles of land have been declared “traditional cultural property”, including 200,000 acres of private land.  Federal regulations do not require the public or even the landowners within a “traditional cultural property” boundary to be informed of any intention to designate property as a “traditional cultural property”.  In New Mexico, if any one of the tribes with federal standing has an objection to an activity, whatever the basis for the objection, the landowner must find a way to mitigate the concerns, according to Cibola Forest Supervisor Nancy Rose, who recently wrote about the controversy in an opt ed piece in the Cibola County Beacon. 
In Washington state, Colville Confederated Tribes are using the law to obtain property for a casino 40 miles from the reservation.  The Tribe successfully blocked the agency’s planned auction of property to the City of Twisp, including 17 buildings on 6.7 acres and insists that it has first rights to the property.  The land was once part of a reservation for another tribe before being dissolved in 1886.  In Oregon, the Warm Springs Tribe is consulted by the Forest Service on any permitted activities along the Deschutes River, even those that occur outside the reservation which they consider their ancestral lands.  The Tribe is a partner with BLM and the state as managers of the resource and have advanced common pool management to two stretches of river.

More Park Units May Be Open to Mountain Biking

The National Park Service is proposing to give Park Superintendents more flexibility to allow mountain biking or cycling on dirt tracks off the main roads.  Mountain bikers are banned from riding anywhere but on roads in many of the country's 391 national park units, according to Jeffrey Olson, a spokesman for the National Park Service in Washington, D.C.  Where mountain biking is permitted, Park Superintendents have to get waivers from the Washington office.  The current restrictions were enacted in 1987. 

President George Bush, an avid mountain biker, is pushing a proposal that would let local Superintendents approve off-road riding in "non-controversial" situations, according to NPS. 

 Notice of Vote on AO By-Laws Change

A vote to change the by-laws of America Outdoors is scheduled for 8:30 AM Dec. 4th 2008 at the Knoxville Convention Center in the Lecture Hall. The purpose is to make them consistent with the strategic plan approved by the Board of Directors, to change the name of the organization to America Outdoors Association, and to alter the make-up of the Board of Directors.

You may view the proposed by-laws at or call the AO office for more information. 800 524-4814.

America Outdoors Association
PO Box 10847
Knoxville, TN 37939

Phone: 1-800-524-4814

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