To further its momentum across the country, POW Action Fund has focused its attention on states that don’t skew heavily toward a single political party, but boast huge foundations of passionate outdoors people who consider outdoor recreation a part of their identity. After exhaustive research, POW AF honed in on the states of Arizona, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire and North Carolina.
After identifying these key states, POW AF the location of high clusters of climbing gyms, breweries, colleges, outdoor retailers, and other outdoor-centric businesses with congressional districts decided by less than 10 percent to pinpoint its focus even further. After months of research, POW AF is proud to reveal individual endorsements for these battleground states, found on the following pages.
Arizona is the fastest-warming state in the lower 48. The state has bountiful playgrounds for skiers, snowboarders, hikers, rafters and mountain bikers to enjoy, and these spaces are in danger of drying up under the skyrocketing desert heat.
Colorado’s winter sports tourism economy is in harm’s way due to climate change, and in the summer, a warming climate has made fire season more extreme, and restricted access to many of the warm-weather playgrounds we love. A lack of water puts the state’s fast-growing population at risk and harms the rural Western Slope’s ranching and agriculture industries.
Outdoor recreation is a huge economic driver in the state of Georgia, with residents enjoying great access to hiking, camping, fishing, mountain biking, kayaking and whitewater rafting. In fact, according to the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation accounts for 238,000 jobs, $27.3 billion in consumer spending and $1.8 billion in state and local tax revenue in Georgia. An increase in drought, fiercer hurricane seasons and coastal erosion and flooding due to climate change all threaten the outdoor playgrounds in the state of Georgia.
Maine has seen extreme weather events, from Arctic vortexes to unseasonably warm springs and falls extending tick season in recent years. The state’s natural resource economies such as lumber, lobster fishing and outdoor recreation are all at risk due to the state’s changing climate. The threat of this loss of heritage and identity is a major motivating factor in the state.
Whether it’s the dense forests, rugged mountains or vast waterways, Michigan is home to some of most beautiful natural areas in the country, and a passionate population of outdoor enthusiasts. Additionally, severe flooding due to lake level rise and extreme storms have put Michigan on high alert, while air and water contamination due to industrialization are top of mind issues for Michiganders across the state.
In Montana, public lands are a top priority with bipartisan support. With diehard skiers, snowboarders, mountain bikers, hikers, climbers, anglers and hunters making up the population, it’s not hard to see why. On the ground, massive wildfires have ravaged the state for years and are the most tangible effect of climate change on Montanans.
Nevada’s outdoor playgrounds range from the high mountain peaks to sagebrush high plains to the desert, and residents across the state take full advantage of the natural opportunities afforded them. Major climate-related issues are centered around electric vehicles, public lands and the challenges associated with growth.
Home to the highest peaks in New England, New Hampshire is an outdoor paradise. From the famed Tuckerman Ravine to the countless ski resorts, trails and rivers spread throughout the state, there’s no shortage of ways to get outside in New Hampshire. Protecting outdoor recreation and tourism associated with fall foliage, skiing, climbing, etc. is very important to New Hampshirites of all ideologies.
With its unique geography, access to mountains, the ocean and temperate climate, there is no doubt that the Old North State has outdoor recreation opportunities for all interests. But those opportunities, and experiences are threatened by climate change–right now.
After at least three “once in a century” weather events took place in the state over the course of two years, North Carolinians have started to accept climate science. Major flooding causing coal ash and hog waste to contaminate water supplies have residents looking for elected leaders to do more.