Responsible Recreation

Outdoor recreation and tourism is a foundational component of the economic and environmental health of the Sierra Nevada. Thanks to its natural beauty, recreation opportunities, charming mountain communities, and outdoor culture, the Sierra is a place where millions of visitors and residents alike seek recreation and respite. It is also a resource-rich region with incredible ecological diversity and a staggering impact on the state of California’s infrastructure.

Sierra Business Council works not just to preserve outdoor recreation in the Sierra, but to grow its environmental, economic, and social benefits. There are three recreation tenants that we prioritize on a legislative level as well as in our sustainable recreation programs:

  • Equitable access: We believe strongly that enjoyment of the Sierra’s public lands, trails, and waterways is a right of all residents of and visitors to the Sierra regardless of their socioeconomic status, race, religion, sex and gender identit(ies), and ability level.
  • Encouraging users to become advocates: Stewardship of the Sierra is a core component of our sustainable recreation initiatives. Increased vistorship to the Sierra has been a steady trend over recent years that accelerated dramatically during the pandemic. We welcome the area’s new recreation enthusiasts and hope to inspire them to learn to love, care for, and vote to preserve the Sierra region.
  • Spreading the economic benefits of tourism throughout the Sierra: With several world-renowned international destinations, several national parks, and its close proximity to major global hubs of technology and wealth, some of our busiest destinations in the Sierra are in danger of being loved to death. We advocate for increasing tourism and recreation infrastructure in some of the region’s equally beautiful but lesser known destinations to both protect our major destinations from being “loved to death” and share with these “off the beaten path” areas the economic benefits of increased visitorship.

*Sierra Business Council would also like to recognize the original stewards and outdoor recreators of the region we love and serve by acknowledging that any recreation happening in the Sierra is happening on stolen land. The diverse tribes and indigenous people of the Sierra include but are by no means limited to the Washoe, Nisenan, the Sierra Miwok, the Mono, and the Paiute. Sierra Business Council’s headquarters are located on occupied Washoe land.

Sierra Business Council defines Sustainable Recreation as opportunities and activities that are environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable and accessible for both current and future generations.

Current and past outdoor recreation efforts:

  • Office of Outdoor Recreation – 2019
    • Outdoor recreation is a huge component of our economy in the Sierra Nevada region. We supported the 2019 effort to establish an office of outdoor recreation (OREC) in California. From a business perspective, a California OREC would support our recreation-based economies and benefit the smaller, locally owned businesses in the Sierra identify what trends are happening, both statewide and nationally, on outdoor recreation. From an environmental lens, an OREC would create more support at the state level to preserve, protect, and expose more Californians to the treasures of the Sierra region.
    • The pending bill, AB1111, did not make it out of appropriations in 2019
  • Prop 68 – 2018
    • California Proposition 68, was a parks, environment, and water bond passed by voters on the 2018 ballot. It authorized $4 billion to fund state and local parks, environmental protection and restoration projects, water infrastructure projects, and flood protection projects. It is the largest single conservation bond in the state’s history.
    • Proposition 68 was also unprecedented not just because of the impressive funding it opens up—it’s rare to see a measure that addresses both recreation infrastructure and important environmental initiatives at the same time. The measure acknowledges the symbiotic relationship between improving recreation opportunities and conservation projects.

Our Partners in Responsible Recreation include:

Sierra Business Council programs existing at the nexus of tourism, the outdoors, and recreation-based economies include Sierra Nevada Geotourism, the Sierra Small Business Development Center, and the Lake Tahoe Water Trail.

Related WoRK:

Erika Harvey Climbing donner summit with donner lake in the background

The Evolution of Athlete to Researcher: An Introduction to Erika Harvey

I grew up climbing on granite slabs at Donner Summit, and the rock formations fascinated me. Everywhere I went in the mountains, I found myself mesmerized by the colors, textures, and stratigraphy lines that painted the landscapes. Having grown up in Northern California in an outdoors family, the concept of conservation was ingrained very early. “Respect the playground; if you want the beautiful places you love to remain intact, then do your part.” At that point in my life, I knew I wanted to do something that allowed me to be outside and in the field solving problems (or something to that extent). Naturally, I began my academic career pursuing a degree in geology. 

Read More »
COMM SCC Blog 2018 12

Sierra CAMP and sustainable recreation

It may seem strange that a climate collaborative is hosting a panel discussion on recreation, economic recovery, and equity. What in the world does any of this have to do with climate change and adaptation? The answer is everything…

Read More »

Join Us In Creating A More Resilient Sierra.

To learn more about our small business development services, becoming a client, applying for funding or loans, contact: