Photo Credit: @aaroper
*This article was featured in our Trail Break – Fall 2021 edition
With 20 years of experience in the outdoor industry, Katie Hawkins has led international sales teams and growth initiatives for global brands such as Marmot, Black Diamond, and Gregory. For the past five years, Katie has been spearheading outdoor recreation advocacy and policy efforts on America’s public lands and waters, and currently serves as the California Program Manager for Outdoor Alliance.
Katie is an avid backcountry skier, mountain biker, and trail runner. Her passions and love for the Range of Light led her and her family to the jewel of the Sierra—Lake Tahoe. She lives in Truckee, California with her husband, two adventurous sons, and a mischievous dog.
What are some issues affecting winter wildlands that are important to you?
For almost three decades, the US Forest Service has undergone huge reductions in staffing at all levels and programming throughout the agency. Budget constraints have also reduced staffing for restoration, watershed, and recreation by nearly 40%. Meanwhile, visitation increases by an average of more than 800,000 visits year over year. It is critical that we advocate for increased appropriations for the Forest Service as an investment in our public lands and the communities who value them.
What is the most important thing you tell others about Winter Wildlands Alliance?
Your voice matters. As outdoor recreation leaders, we have a responsibility to continue to amplify the amazing work of our organizations, partners, and community members to protect outdoor recreation and conserve the outdoors. Our public lands and waters continue to be threatened by the climate crisis, catastrophic wildfires, droughts, funding shortages, development, and misguided policy ideas. The outdoor community is a powerful force to protect the outdoors and the time is now to have your voice heard.
What Winter Wildlands Alliance projects have you worked on/taken action on?
This past winter season I worked with my colleagues in the Tahoe backcountry community to elevate Tahoe Backcountry Safety Awareness Week (takecaretahoe. org/backcountry) and Winter Wildlands Alliance’s Ski Kind campaign (skikind.org). It was an amazing experience to work with a broad group of stakeholders that included the Tahoe National Forest, Sierra Avalanche Center, Tahoe Backcountry Alliance, athletes, local guides, and retailers on amplifying the importance of safety while recreating in the Tahoe backcountry.
Katie in the backcountry (California); Photo Credit: @bjornbauerphoto