Outdoor Industry Association

Outdoor Industry Association
Outdoor Industry Association
Type Trade Organization
Founded 1989
Location 4909 Pearl East Circle, Suite 200, Boulder, Colorado 80301
Members 1,100 companies
Motto Ensuring the growth and success of the outdoor industry
Website http://www.outdoorindustry.org

Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is the trade association for companies in the active outdoor recreation business. OIA provides trade services for over 4,000 manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives and retailers in the outdoor industry, primarily in the United States.



OIA was founded in 1989 out of the outdoor industry’s desire to be individually recognized. The timing coincided with the separation of the outdoor industry from the SnowSports Industries America (SIA) Trade Show. Due to an emerging broader lifestyle and changing market needs, the outdoor industry parted from SIA and moved en masse to the new Outdoor Retailer trade show. As this new “active” outdoor recreation trade show grew, it became increasingly evident that this was an emerging group without a trade association to represent it. The initial formation meetings occurred in the late 1980’s, and the association was finally incorporated in 1989. OIA received its 501(c)6 non-profit status in 1992.

At the time of its founding, OIA was known as Outdoor Recreation Coalition of America (ORCA). The original founders of ORCA (Adventure 16, Backwoods, Brookwood Companies, DuPont, Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS), Elephant’s Perch, JanSport, Patagonia, Rainier Mountaineering, Inc., Recreational Equipment Inc (REI)., Sierra Designs, Summit Sports, The North Face and Wild Country) conceived of an organization that was far more than just a manufacturers association. Thus, the word “coalition” was included in the original name to state the importance of a complete spectrum of member companies that would range from manufacturers, sales representatives and retailers, to suppliers. The founding members agreed the original agendas of building participation in outdoor recreation and reducing liability, were too large to be contained within small segments of the industry, and that an inclusive membership was essential.

As with most associations, ORCA began its operations entirely through volunteer efforts. The Outdoor Retailer tradeshow was a strong and early supporter, supplying the first significant source of annual funding. From this funding and the growing membership dues, the first staff and programs emerged.

Outdoor Recreation Coalition of America officially changed its name to Outdoor Industry Association in 2001.


OIA focuses its efforts on behalf of the outdoor industry in the following areas:

I. Government Affairs

OIA represents the outdoor industry’s interests in the legislative and policy development process. OIA works with key members of Congress to promote equitable and predictable trade policies, increased funding for outdoor recreation and federal management policies on public lands that support active, human-powered recreation.

II. Market Intelligence

OIA provides relevant market intelligence including point-of-sale data, participation data and benchmarking information.

III. Industry Education

Through OIA, businesses in the outdoor recreation industry have access to ongoing professional development and educational programs such as the retailer-focused Outdoor University and the OIA Rendezvous.

IV. Business Solutions

Much of the work of OIA intends to expand markets and help its members make informed business decisions. OIA also offers benefits to its members with direct and immediate advantages to the bottom line. OIA provides numerous cost-saving benefits to its members such as freight discounts, discounted exhibit space at the Outdoor Retailer Summer and Winter Markets and other cost-saving benefits.

V. The Outdoor Foundation

The Outdoor Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 foundation established by Outdoor Industry Association to inspire and grow future generations of outdoor enthusiasts. Its vision is to be a driving force behind a massive increase in active outdoor recreation in America.

Partnership with Nielsen Business Media and Outdoor Retailer

In January, 2008, OIA and Nielsen Business Media, the parent company of the Outdoor Retailer, InterBike, Action Sports Retailer (ASR) and Fly Fishing Retailer trade shows, announced a 15-year, multi-million dollar strategic alliance aimed at boosting efforts to ensure the growth and success of the outdoor industry.

Now celebrating more than 25 years of successful events, Outdoor Retailer gathers more than 1,000 outdoor-related brands and more than 21,000 total attendees annually. Outdoor Retailer Summer and Winter Markets are venue of choice for the outdoor specialty industry. Brands big and small have a focused and targeted forum to contribute and conduct the business of the outdoors, with key market exposure in a comprehensive showcase of outdoor companies. Outdoor Retailer attracts national and international dealers in every category - specialty, specialty chain, general sporting goods, military, resort, mail order, big box and mass merchant retailers.

Notable Accomplishments of OIA

  • Instrumental in formation of Leave No Trace, Inc. [1]
  • Led the fight to defeat the proposed Backpack Tax
  • Formed the Tornado Emergency Relief Fund and raised over $100,000 to support victims and businesses struck by the tornado during the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show.[2]
  • Successfully partnered with the National Recreation and Park Association to pass, for the first time in history of the 40 year program, permanent funding for the stateside Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) program.[3]
  • Instrumental in the passage of the Conservation and Recreation Act (CARA) and its initial full funding of $12 Billion.[4]
  • Led $3 million September 11 disaster relief product donation effort[5]
  • Launched the first ever international outdoor products trade initiatives and successfully defeated a petition to place safeguards on performance outerwear jackets and pants and reduced performance footwear duties by 27.5%.
  • In cooperation with a broad coalition of partners, successfully lobbied for the Recreation Trails Program in the 2005 Transportation Bill which increased funding from $250 M over the previous 5 years to $370 M for the next five providing dollars for creating and improving trails in all 50 states.
  • Partnered with the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) and defeated damaging proposed changes to National Park management plans. NPCA and Secretary of Interior Dirk Kempthorne recognized OIA for its leadership and support of the revised management policies.[6][7]
  • Released the first ever outdoor industry fair labor tool kit and B2B standards for the outdoor industry.[8]
  • Hosted the outdoor industry’s first-ever forum to develop green and sustainable outdoor product development and labeling standards.[9]
  • Successfully led the creation and introduction of the Recreational Performance Outerwear Apparel Act of 2008 in both the House and Senate to reduce outdated tariffs on performance outerwear.[10]
  • Leading the fight for the passage and full funding for the National Park Service’s Centennial Initiative, celebrating the National Park Service’s 100th Anniversary in 2016.[11]


OIA represents 1,100 businesses in the outdoor recreation industry. Membership is open to companies involved in the outdoor industry, including manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, retailers, dealers and sales representatives. Associate membership is offered to companies providing B2B solutions for the outdoor industry, such as marketing and advertising agencies, financial/investment institutes, consultants, other trade associations and other businesses that support the outdoor industry. Membership in OIA supports the outdoor industry, OIA policies and initiatives and provides exclusive benefits.

See also


  1. ^ Leave No Trace, Inc.,Leave No Trace, Inc. Retrieved March, 2009.
  2. ^ Tornado Puts Family Spin on OR, All Business.com, September 17, 1999. Retrieved March, 2009.
  3. ^ Permanent Funding for LWCF a Landmark Victory for NRPA Advocacy, National Recreation and Park Association. Retrieved March, 2009.
  4. ^ ORCA Celebrates Passage of Landmark Conservation Legislation Passed by U.S. House and Senate,.
  5. ^ Outdoor Industry Association sends supplies, Denver Business Journal, September 14, 2001. Retrieved March, 2009.
  6. ^ "Citizens, Congress Tell Administration to Abandon Controversial National Parks Policy Rewrite". National Parks Conservation Association. 2006-02-23. http://www.npca.org/media_center/press_releases/2006/page-27601268.html. Retrieved 2010-06-14. 
  7. ^ "Kempthorne: Park Management Policies Will Assure Legacy of Conservation". U.S. National Park Service Press Release. 2006-06-19. http://home.nps.gov/news/release.htm?id=681. Retrieved 2010-06-14. 
  8. ^ Outdoor Industry Association Adopts Fair Labor Supplier Code of Conduct, Releases Toolkit at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market,.
  9. ^ Outdoor Industry’s Eco Working Group Developing Product Index, Adventure TravelNews, January 2009. Retrieved March, 2009.
  10. ^ OIA Applauds Introduction of Recreational Performance Outerwear Act, SNEWS, July 2008. Retrieved March, 2009.
  11. ^ OIA Announces 2008 Public Policy Agenda,.

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