Kids curled up with flashlights and sporting magazines under their bed covers. Adults read newspapers in leather chairs while smoking a pipe and enjoying a single malt.
Magazine articles, TV shows and outdoor columns in newspapers, transported Americans into the great outdoors.
Today, OWAA members keep that tradition alive while we, as our missions says, “set the highest ethical and communications standards.”
We bring adventure, great storytelling and entertainment into the homes of the public, but even more importantly, outdoor journalists continue to play a critical role in helping the American people see the value in the great outdoors while also calling attention to what threatens it.
The history of outdoor writers calling attention to bad land or wildlife management actions is legendary. Journalist can point out how, without public vigilance, their elected officials will sell that heritage to the highest bidder.
One of the more significant mission tenets of OWAA is “encourage public enjoyment and conservation of natural resources.”
Outdoor journalists show a simple equation; healthy habitat creates recreation opportunities. And recreation drives significant economic activity. That is a message that resonates in the halls of power and is strong medicine in fighting for the protection of our natural resources.
Our members are the voices that show the world the grandeur of America’s outdoor resources. They are the voices that share the stories — good and bad — of our waters and woods.
Land, fish and wildlife don’t have human voices, so we must be the voice to reach the American people. My job is making sure our members have the tools and opportunities to be a loud and effective voice.
OWAA is comprised of more than 800 individual outdoor communicators covering a broad spectrum of outdoor beats, from shooting to camping, fishing to kayaking and wildlife watching to backpacking. From these diverse backgrounds and disciplines, members gather beneath the OWAA banner to hone skills, share philosophies, develop profitable business strategies and network with peers, conservation policymakers and industry trendsetters.
Eighty-seven years ago the men who started OWAA thought the work they were doing as chroniclers of the great outdoors was important enough to found an organization to perpetuate the craft.
Today, access to public lands is shrinking, habitat loss is increasing and environmental issues complex. The work we do today as outdoor journalists is as important, perhaps even more so, then it was back then.