Stevens Lodge Hosts Climate Change Roundtable with Rep. DelBene

We hosted Congresswoman DelBene and winter recreation industry professionals at our very own Stevens Lodge for a discussion on the impacts of climate change on outdoor recreation.
Katherine Hollis Katherine Hollis
January 21, 2016
Stevens Lodge Hosts Climate Change Roundtable with Rep. DelBene

The Mountaineers were honored to host a round table discussion on climate change and the winter recreation economy with Congresswoman DelBene at our Stevens Lodge this past Tuesday. We brought together representatives from the retail, ski and guiding industries, the Forest Service, as well as leaders from local communities, to discuss how our changing environment is impacting our work and how we can collaborate on these issues going forward. We sat by our lodge’s fireplace with snow falling outside and shared how the significantly varied weather patterns of 2014-2015 impacted all of us.

Last year’s low snow winter gave way to an incredibly dry and wildfire filled-summer and fall. This translated into severely limited recreation opportunities for what is normally peak season for the outdoor recreation industry. This led to strain on towns that rely on winter tourism, and the wildfire season was also particularly harsh on these communities. This winter, high precipitation levels have caused flooding and damage to infrastructure.

“Washington’s First District is home to some of our nation’s most beautiful national forests, parks, mountains and waterways. As someone who loves hiking and skiing, I know firsthand that the natural environment surrounding us is what makes living in the Pacific Northwest so special,” DelBene said. “Climate change is a serious threat to this way of life, future generations and our economy. With so much at stake, we must address the challenges climate change poses without delay.”

The outdoor recreation industry supports more than 200,000 Washington jobs and contributes more than $20 billion a year to the state economy. Unpredictable weather can disrupt this vital economic driver.

Our 11,200 members are out exploring Washington’s stunning public lands every day of the year which means it is incredibly important to be having this discussions as premptively as we can. From receding glaciers to smoke-filled skies from wildfires, our members experience the impacts of our changing climate first hand. We are often the first to notice trails in disrepair, or to have our volunteer course leaders struggling to find enough snow to teach ice axe arrest. The Mountaineers are well poised to help bring together members of our community, our non-profit partners, the guiding community and our public land managers and legislators. We look forward to being able to host more of these conversations in the future because this is really just the beginning. 

And, because we are The Mountaineers, a winter day at Stevens wouldn’t be complete without hitting the slopes. Almost everyone who attended the round table was able to spend a few hours continuing the conversation on chairlifts with the Congresswoman and her husband. #bestskierincongress

Katherine, Delbene ski Stevens Pass 1.2016
The group ready to continue the discussion outdoors!



Roundtable Participants

  • Martinique Grigg (Mountaineers Advisory Council)
  • Kara Stone (REI Flagship General Manager and Mountaineers Board member)
  • Barry Collins (Forest Service)
  • Katherine Hollis  (Mountaineers Conservation and Advocacy Director)
  • Jason Martin (American Alpine Institute),
  • Bill Granger (Re-Align Environmental)
  • Congresswoman Suzan DelBene and husband Kurt DelBene
  • John Meriwether (Stevens Pass Resort)
  • Taldi Walter (REI Government Affairs)
  • Tony Grider (Mayor of Skykomish) 
  • Henry Sladek (owner of the Cascadia Inn)