Florida Trail Program Director, Alex Stigliano, writes:
The Outdoor Industry Association’s Outdoor Retailer
trade show (OR for short) is where many connections between large apparel and equipment companies (Osprey, Granite Gear, Sawyer, etc.) and non-profit organizations, including the FTA, happen. For some of our sister National Scenic Trail (NST) orgs, large portions of their operating budgets are generated through corporate partnerships that were forged at this trade show decades ago. Building those relationships is what brought the FTA to the Summer OR show in July.
As you may be aware, the FTA just finished a Membership drive in July. That drive was incentivized by a raffle featuring gear donated by some great companies that we met at the OR show. The numbers for the July Membership drive are still coming in, but as of July 30, we have 261 new and renewed FTA members!
This OR show was especially special, as we joined other NST orgs and our federal partners at the National Park Service and Forest Service to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act. As part of this celebration, the FTA co-sponsored a discussion panel that asked the question, “Where would we be without trails?” Spoiler Alert: the answer was, “not far.”
The FTA tabled alongside other organizations including the American Hiking Society, National Parks Foundation, Ice Age Trail Alliance, and our fantastic tabling neighbors, NOLS Wilderness Medicine. You might see a Primus “camp” stove from ~1950 on the FTA’s table. This all-brass piece of vintage expedition equipment was a great conversation starter.