Choose Outdoors is a non-profit organization located in Denver, Colorado. It was created to help unite the many diverse interests using our public lands with emphasis on promoting and preserving access, use and the future of outdoor recreation on our public lands.

Our Mission

Choose Outdoors provides support for our nation's public lands by promoting outdoor recreation and active lifestyles. We do this through:

  1. Working directly with agencies and partners to create effective outdoor education, learning, volunteer opportunities, and experiences for people of all ages;
  2. Advocating in favor of outdoor recreation and bring together the support of industries associated with the outdoors; and
  3. Supporting investments in recreation programs and infrastructure to promote active lifestyles.

Our Vision

Reinvigorate America’s participation, appreciation, and support for all the outdoor recreation activities that connect them to public lands. Through these activities, American's will seek to engage in healthy, active lifestyles and outdoor recreation events that benefit them as well as future generations.

What we are concerned with:

  1. The epidemic of childhood obesity. We want to replace "screen-time" with more "nature time" and bridge the chasm between our kids and their exposure to nature. Ultimately, it is a future in which "nature deficit "disorder is no longer a growing concern for America's youth and their families.
  2. The alarming pattern of public health issues attributed to inactive lifestyles. Choose Outdoors seeks to re-introduce Americans to great outdoors because we believe that when people get outdoors their minds and bodies are stimulated making them healthier.
  3. The support of the American public for the treasures of this Nation's public lands that provide the opportunity for outdoor recreation. If we don't continue to support our public lands we will loose them.
  4. Creating public/private partnerships to help bridge the gap between dwindling budgets for design and maintenance of our public lands and the programs that serve the entire outdoor recreation community.

The Challenge

Outdoor recreation advocates have struggled to work collectively toward common goals, often confounded by competing interests and long-standing rivalries. Too often the result of this friction is inadequate funding for outdoor recreation programs and too little focus on its contribution to public health and well-being; complicated land management policies; conflicting and contradictory messages; and frustrated legislators and constituents. As long as outdoor recreation groups continue to work at cross-purposes, we will lack a strong and unified voice. Choose Outdoors believes that the time has come for a new alliance of outdoor interests embracing a 21st century vision of recreation management and cooperation on our public lands.

The Opportunity

Times are changing and new opportunities exist to unify all who love the great outdoors and Choose Outdoors believes now is the time to act. We believe that as a community, we can create a new 21st century vision for recreation management and cooperation as a key step toward unifying diverse recreation interests and increasing support for recreation programs and policies. 

Most agree with the central theme, which has emerged over and over again: the increasing disconnect between people, especially young people, and the land. Coupled with this disconnect is the concern over the relevance of our public lands. These national treasures will not be relevant to Americans who have little awareness or appreciation for the benefits of our public lands. The implications of this disconnect affect physical and emotional health, stewardship values, and economics.

We must take advantage of this unique opportunity to coalesce the outdoor recreation community with a common sense of purpose.

Key Accomplishments

Created partnerships and secured initial support to unite the outdoor community from such diverse interests as:

  • Trade Associations: National Ski Areas Association, Outdoor Industry Association, National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, America Outdoors Association   (guides and outfitters), International Mountain Biking Association and American Trail   Runners Association.
  • Corporations: America's Forests with Chuck Leveall, Backpackers Pantry, Jamba Juice, The Outdoors Experience, Outside Magazine, Patton Boggs LLP, Periscope Marketing, Rodgers, Corporation, Trans Rockies, Segway, SVC Tech, U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, Victorinox/Swiss Army
  • Choose Outdoors partnered with award winning journalist James Edward Mills on New Century Vision Quest. The fate of public land in the United States lies squarely in the hands of the American people. After more than a century of conscientious management by both public and private agencies the enduring legacy of environmental preservation will continue through the leadership of a new generation of stewards from a broad spectrum of social and cultural experiences. As the U.S. population grows to become more racially and ethnically diverse people of color will have a very prominent role to play in the protection of our wild and scenic places, the conservation of our natural resources and the mitigation of anthropogenic causes of climate change. In hopes engendering members of Congress to support a series of Presidential Memoranda meant to create an approach to public land management that includes the interests of all the American people the Joy Trip Project, in partnership with the nonprofit Choose Outdoors, completed storytelling mission to illustrate and share a vision of what the next 100 years might look like.
  • Working with Rotary International Clubs in Colorado, Boy Scouts of America Choose Outdoors and Denver Public Schools' Career Education Center Choose Outdoors is developing unique opportunities for youth to experience the great outdoors through rock climbing, fishing, snowmobiling, camping, mountain biking, camping and a variety of other outdoor activities.
  • Choose Outdoors is concerned about the future of our forests as places to enjoy the great outdoors. We have joined forces with conservation and recreation groups and timber companies to increase support for US Forest Service mission of "Caring for the Land and Serving the People". Catastrophic wildfires and unprecedented massive insect infestations are destroying the places we love to recreate in and are in desperate need of adaptive management in these times of climate change and long term drought.

Synergy conferences to bring outdoor community leaders together in Washington, DC, Colorado, and Alaska to work on mutually beneficial policies, initiatives and strategic alliances.

Established Regional Recreation Coalitions to increase support for our mission in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Alaska and Utah.

Developed specific partnerships with the U.S. Forest Service and other agencies charged with management of outdoor recreation opportunities and landscapes.

Secured ongoing sponsorship support for the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree project through partners.

Next Steps

We have conducted scores of meetings, engaged hundreds of stakeholders and received invaluable advice from a wide spectrum of interested parties. In order to be successful moving forward we have identified the following priorities:

  • Develop interconnectivity and coordination between regional recreation groups.
  • Develop specific goals and objectives for caucus and regional recreation groups.

Now, more than ever, it is critical we join forces to develop a 21st century vision for outdoor recreation in America. The stakes are high: the literal and figurative health of our country is at great risk. We must step forward and work together toward substantive and innovative solutions to preserve and expand our recreation legacy.

Bruce Ward, Founder and President of Choose Outdoors


Tom Morton
Chair, CO
Brian Kelleghan
Vice Chair
Suzanne Barkley
Brian Kelleghan
Rob Harris


Bruce Ward


Jodi Massey
James Edward Mills
Penelope Purdy
Chris Dirgo
Envie Media, CO
Jennifer Bills
Management Partners, CO

Mo McElroy                    Olivia Tinney                      Kate Raisz                   Roger Carstens             Paula Ward
CA                                  CO                                                                                                                CO