#KernBlog: CEO and Business Involvement in Important Policy Debates

From Fortune Magazine recently, I read this: “Apple’s Tim Cook urged CEOs not to fall into the ‘the appalling silence of good people’ category in policy debates.”

The outdoor community, including, the outdoor industry and the hiking clubs I know, should address Tim Cook’s concern. Ten of our eleven National Scenic Trails are languishing.

Congress came to the aid of the Appalachian Trail when it was 66% complete. Today, the other ten trails that comprise our National Scenic Trails are 75% complete, but Congress has shown no interest in providing these trails what they provided the Appalachian Trail. The biggest reason is that the “silence of good people” plagues the hiking community as well.

Squeaky wheels get the grease. The trail clubs haven’t been squeaking enough.

Nor has the industry that supports them. Hikers want to get out there with loppers; they don’t want to make themselves a pest in the halls of Congress. But that is what it is going to take.

It’s disappointing to see how little the industry puts into this, given how badly they need hiking trails if they want to sell boots, rain pants, lightweight tents, backpacks, water bottles, fanny packs, titanium cook kits, and much more.

In a low energy future, Americans will more and more be walking into wild lands and they will need trails to do it.

Tim Cook again, “business is just a collection of people; and if people have values, then a business should too.”

Nobody is going to hand these completed trails to us. If we know they are important, we are going to have to insist that they be continuous and set aside for posterity.

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