Anne Mader, co-owner of The Bike Lane Bike shops in Springfield and Reston, Va. , was among a group of outdoors stakeholders and local students that met with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis at a National Park Week event April 25 at Prince William Forest Park, the largest green space in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
Jewell and Jarvis met with students from Stonewall Middle School in Prince William County, Va. who were participating in a NatureBridge residential field science program in which students live and learn in the park, extending classroom learning with hands-on water-testing experiments of their own design and learning about the Great Depression-era history of their close-to-home national park.
Mader and other representatives of outdoors stakeholder groups were invited to meet with the nation’s top outdoors administrator. Jewell is the former CEO of REI, Inc., a national chain of retail outdoors and recreation equipment stores that has a strong history of supporting environmental and outdoors causes.
Jewell said she could not “think of a higher calling” than the stewardship of America’s outdoors.”
One of her priorities is the redesign of America’s national parks to “attract all Americans, not just a subset. We need to bring nature into people’s lives.”
Mader said she was “very impressed” by Secretary Jewell.
“Her background working for a company that values the environment and outdoor recreation, such as REI, will give her a unique perspective and an understanding of the importance of public and private partnerships.
“I was impressed by her eagerness to kick off her appointment by listening to stakeholder groups before creating her strategic plan/vision and goals. She came across as very ‘un- politician’ and that was pretty refreshing. I hope her ideas will create more opportunities in outdoor recreation, especially for our youth. Outdoor recreation not only creates an appreciation for the environment and physical activity, which our youth desperately need, it also creates many jobs.
“I believe her plan to bring together the private and public sectors will be key in doing this. I just hope it doesn’t get lost in the politics of Washington.”
The Bike Lane stores have long been active in the creation of public-private initiatives to get more kids outside, including support of their local mountain biking club MORE, Trails for Youth, TBL’s own Junior Mountain Bike Development Program and national organizations such as IMBA and Bikes Belong, who is an associate member of the Outdoor Industry Associate. The Bike Lane also helps in writing grants to get funding for trails, as well as supporting community mountain bike and running races that use local parks.