Governor Press Conference Regarding Stage 2 of Idaho Rebounds
THURSDAY, May 14, 2020
Governor Little will host a press conference regarding Stage 2 of Idaho Rebounds at 1 p.m. Reporters wishing to participate in the WebEx conference need to RSVP to Marissa Morrison Hyer by 9 a.m. to receive an access code to the meeting. The conference will be streamed to the public through Idaho Public Television and online.
SENATOR WYDEN INTRODUCES RURAL JOBS BILL WITH MAJOR FOCUS ON OUTFITTERS & GUIDES
Wyden’s 21st Century Conservation Corps for Our Health and Our Jobs Act will provide significant investment in wildfire prevention and resiliency efforts; programs that can get rural Americans back to work when it’s deemed safe by public health experts to do so; direct relief for outfitters and guides; as well as extensive resources for watershed restoration.
Some Key Elements:
Establishes a $7 billion relief fund to help outfitters and guides who hold U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Department of the Interior special use permits – and their employees – stay afloat through the truncated recreation season;
Provides an additional $3.5 billion for the U.S. Forest Service and $2 billion for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to increase the pace and scale of hazardous fuels reduction and thinning efforts, prioritizing projects that are shovel-ready and environmentally-reviewed;
Establishes a $9 billion fund for qualified land and conservation corps to increase job training and hiring specifically for jobs in the woods, helping to restore public lands and watersheds, while providing important public health related jobs in this time of need;
Provides an additional $150 million for the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program, the flagship program for community forest restoration and fire risk reduction;
Provides $6 billion for U.S. Forest Service capital improvements and maintenance to put people to work reducing the maintenance backlog on National Forest System lands, including reforestation;
Provides $500 million for the Forest Service State and Private Forestry program, which will be divided between programs to help facilitate landscape restoration projects on state, private and federal lands, including $100 million for the Firewise program to help local governments plan for and reduce wildfire risks;
Provides $10 billion for on-farm water conservation and habitat improvement projects;
Provides full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which has broad bipartisan support; and
Provides $100 million for land management agencies to purchase and provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to their employees, contractors and service workers.
A one-page summary is available here. A section-by-section summary is available here. A copy of the legislative text is available here.
TAKE ACTION TODAY TO SUPPORT THIS BILL
Call or Email Idaho Senators Risch and Crapo and ask them to support the Wyden bill.
This bill, if passed, could be the difference between solvency and insolvency for a significant proportion of outfitters in Idaho--and like the proposed bill from Senator Daines, it is built on nonpartisan principles and practical needs across rural economies and hard-hit industries.
Contact Senator Risch HERE
Contact Senator Crapo HERE Here is what some folks from our tent (and adjacent ones) have to say about the bill:
Aaron Lieberman, Executive Director, Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association: “The outfitting and guiding industry finds itself in a uniquely precarious situation due to novel coronavirus. Bookings are spiraling and anticipated losses compounding. Our industry is central to rural economies across the country. In Idaho alone, outfitters and guides generate over 1 billion dollars per year. There is a real and immediate need in our industry, and the rural economies our industry supports, for this initiative being proposed by Senator Wyden. Like the proposed bill to be introduced by Senator Daines across the aisle, it demonstrates a recognition of our industry’s centrality to rural economies, to recreational opportunities, and to the ethos of the American West and our nation.”
Zach Collier, Owner/Outfitter, Northwest Rafting Company: “Due to COVID-19 closures, outfitting and guiding has come to a screeching halt right when our busy season was scheduled to begin. Senator Wyden’s bill keeps the guiding industry afloat while investing in recreation infrastructure and the health and resiliency of our forests. This bill will allow me to keep river guides employed improving our public lands immediately.”
Pete Wallstrom, Guide/Owner, Momentum River Expeditions; Upper Klamath Outfitters Association: “Outfitted outdoor recreation in our region has grown and thrived in the last decade and is a bright spot in our rural economies, providing sustainable jobs and career opportunities and introducing people to our incredible public lands. However, COVID 19 could decimate many of the small businesses that make up the industry and cause long term damage to our local rural economies. This bill will support our public lands and the many communities and businesses that depend on them by supporting outfitters, critical forest resiliency and wildfire projects, and the backlog of trail and facility maintenance projects. It would provide critical short term help and be a long term win for the region. We strongly support this bill.”
Erik Weiseth, Managing Partner/River Guide, Orange Torpedo Trips - Whitewater Cowboys - The Paddled Pub - Salmon River Challenge: “Outfitting and guiding is an industry we are in because we love it. We love showing people the incredible places we operate. We love inspiring kids to explore the world and step away from their screens. We love watching families bond as they float out of cell phone range and into conversations with each other. We love sharing what are some of the most impactful travel moments of people’s lives. All of this could end. It is commonly believed that without significant changes in current travel capabilities or other alternative revenue options more than 25 percent of outfitters could cease to be in business next year. The ripple effect of that loss could be catastrophic in rural tourism based economies and for states with growing tourism markets. This bill will allow outfitters an opportunity to weather this storm while also serving to help improve and protect the places we already operate. It will allow us to continue as anchors of rural economies, creators of future advocates of natural resources, and employers of thousands. This is more than investment in us, it is an investment in our communities that will have long term returns.”
Aaron Bannon, Executive Director, American Outdoors Association: “Outfitters and guides have been hit hard by the current crisis, and unlike other industrial sectors, they will not have a chance to recover when the crisis subsides due to the seasonal nature of the industry. The relief in this bill will keep the sustainable recreation economy alive, which is important to so many Americans who value the great outdoors.”
Louis Geltman, Policy Director, Outdoor Alliance: "As our country navigates the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the opportunity to get into the outdoors has been a fleeting bit of solace for many Americans. At the same time, the crisis has demonstrated the need for better recreation infrastructure, especially close to home, and addressing that unmet demand presents tremendous opportunities to put Americans to work building resources that will be of lasting value to communities. Outdoor Alliance applauds Senator Wyden's leadership in recognizing the tremendous value of our public lands and waters in helping our country recover from this crisis."
Thomas O’Keefe, Pacific Northwest Stewardship Director, American Whitewater: “A leader on public lands and rivers conservation over many years, Senator Wyden understands that our public lands are essential to our physical and mental health. As we face the unprecedented challenges of the current public health crisis, we appreciate the Senator’s leadership in advancing legislation to invest in public lands and the outdoor recreation economy.”
Brian Sykes, President, Oregon Outfitters & Guides Association: “Most outfitters and guides in Oregon are small businesses, independent contractors or sole proprietors; and a significant number of these have already suffered significant financial loss due to COVID-19 closures. Providing assistance for struggling outfitters is crucial for providing employment and supporting local businesses (often in rural areas) and providing a service for members of the public who otherwise might not have access to the outdoors. Fees generated by outfitter business are also important for supporting local trail and facility maintenance. Another important priority of this bill is the substantial support it provides for hazardous fuels management. Wildfires have a severe and direct impact on outdoor recreation in general and outfitters and guides in particular.”
SHARE INPUT ABOUT CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS.
Hi river managers and river users--
Building on this work, we have developed a short survey to systematically collect and report information on these topics. We welcome responses from river managers and river users, just identify the place(s) you’re reporting on. The survey takes about 10 minutes to complete, just click on the link below.
River Management Society sponsored the recent Confluence webinar on this topic; over 100 people signed up, representing federal/state/local agencies and NGOs/outfitters/private boaters, from Alaska to Florida. Follow-up efforts include a mailing from the webinar, information gathering by Dave Cernicek and Emma Lord, and another RMS webinar with state river mangers next week. These initiatives showtremendous interest in best practices and good ideas from across the country.
These are uncertain times for many reasons. But river managers and river users have said loud and clear they need to share information about challenges and solutions.
New PPP Rule Provides Additional Options for Seasonal Operators
Yesterday, the US Treasury Department released an interim final rule for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Calculation that addresses inefficiencies identified by and for seasonal operators. The interim rule provides seasonal employers the option of using any consecutive 12-week period between May 1, 2019, and September 15, 2019, to determine their maximum loan amount(s).
IOGA has been lobbying Congress to provide such additional consideration for seasonal operators for well over a month. But this success would not have been possible without all of your calls and letters, not least without the invaluable efforts of partner associations, in particular, America Outdoors, whose fast Action Tool many of you used to lobby for these changes.
Idaho Outfitter & Guide Economic Impact Estimate
Thanks, again, to analysts with the Idaho Department of Commerce, IOGA (again) has updated, best estimate calculations for the economic contributions for our industry in Idaho.
EstimatedTotal Economic Output of Idaho's Outfitters & Guides: $1,089,936,184
The summary table below provides the total economic impact of Idaho guides and outfitters.
The results draw from Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) data sets, were developed using Chmura JobsEQ (economic modeling software)--and represent 2019 4th Quarter numbers.
This model is based on an average salary of $48,219 per guide/outfitter (averages of both respective averages)
For every tour guide/outfitter job in Idaho, approximately 2.10 jobs are added to the local community
Idaho guides/outfitters have a total economic impact of approximately $1.1 billion dollars a year
Idaho guides/outfitters create 3,358 jobs a year (Indirect + Induced)
Idaho guides/outfitters facilitate the sale of over $2 million dollars in tags and licenses a year to non-residents (based on data from the IOGLB and costs from IDFG).