REI Co-op Asks Members to Support Outdoor Access Legislation That Will Help Everyone Get Outside

After launching its Outside in 5 initiative in 2023, which is focused on getting every person in America outside in five minutes or less, REI Co-op is now asking its member community to support legislation that will improve access to the outdoors.

The outdoor retailer, in a statement released Wednesday, asked the 23 million people in its member community to “raise its collective voice” and ask Congress to pass acts that will “help everyone access and enjoy time outside.” This can be done through the REI Cooperative Action Network, a platform the retailer launched in 2021 to drive positive change through collective action.

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These include the TREES Act, which would establish a grant program to facilitate tree planting that reduces residential energy consumption; the Living Schoolyards Act, which would award grants for outdoor learning spaces and to develop living schoolyards; the Active Transportation Infrastructure Investment Program, which is a grant program to construct projects to provide safe and connected active transportation facilities; and the Outdoors for All Act, which is a grant program that would fund parks, trails, green spaces, playgrounds, cultural gathering spaces and more in underserved communities.

On April 9, the Outdoors for All Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives as a part of the broader Explore Act package of legislation. REI stated there is added urgency to get behind The Explore Act, which is now awaiting a vote in the Senate.

REI also announced in Wednesday’s statement that it has published a playbook for Outside in 5, which it explained “details how individuals and organizations can engage in these efforts in their local community.”

“While we are inspired by the progress we have made together as a co-op community, we know there is still so much left to do,” REI Co-op vice president of public affairs and impact Roma McCaig said in a statement. “This is a broad call to action. Anyone can join in Outside in 5 efforts by advocating for policy, supporting nonprofits, and engaging their community.”

REI Co-op also offered an update on the progress of Outside in 5 and the REI Cooperative Action Fund, which the retailer stated provided $6.1 million in funding for more than 260 local, regional and national nonprofits last fall that are “leading efforts to create better access to the outdoors for everyone.”

REI stated it donates $5 from every co-op membership to the REI Cooperative Action Fund. Also, the retailer said employees in its stores are building partnerships with organizations “that are advancing Outside in 5 in their local communities.” This includes partnering with the Greening Youth Foundation to connect youth and young adults to the outdoors in Atlanta; advocating for $1 billion in funding for Texas State Parks; supporting Trust for Public Land’s green schoolyard efforts; and supporting the New Mexico Outdoor Equity Fund that aims to get youth in the outdoors, as well as other outdoor conservation and recreation programs.

About the Author

Peter Verry is the Senior News and Features Editor for Athletic and Outdoor at Footwear News. He oversees coverage of the two fast-paced and ultracompetitive markets, which includes conducting in-depth interviews with industry leaders and writing stories on sneakers and outdoor shoes. He is a lifelong sneaker addict (and shares his newest purchases via @peterverry on Instagram) and spends most of his free time on a trail. He holds an M.A. in journalism from Hofstra University and can be reached at

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