Columbia and National Parks Partnership
On Tuesday 23rd May, at an event held at the Queen's House in Greenwich, London, Ramble learned of an exciting partnership between Columbia Sportswear and the UK's National Parks that will see the clothing brand support the Parks over the next five years; not only as the official outfitter of staff, but by building a relationship with the Parks and establishing an emotional connection wth the consumer. The partnership aims to promote a passion for the UK's most loved natural spaces and inspire people to appreciate, visit and want to protect them.
The UK has 15 National Parks, organisations that are dedicated to enhancing the natural beauty of the landscapes and conserving the wildlife and cultural heritage found there. With 100 million visitors each year, the National Parks are committed to promoting opportunities for a better understanding and enjoyment of the parks through education, volunteering and outreach programmes.
Amazingly, 50% of people in England live within an hour of a National Park and 96% of people think every child should have the opportunity to visit one. This partnership between Columbia and the National Parks aims to ensure that this happens; inspiring younger generations to love the outdoors and appreciate the beauty we have here in the UK.
“At Columbia, our mission is to help people enjoy the outdoors longer. That’s why we consider it our responsibility to be conscientious stewards of our shared environment. Becoming a partner of the UK’s National Parks is an unrivalled opportunity to highlight the amazing work conducted by rangers and staff,” said Andy Barker, General Manager UK & IR Columbia Sportswear.
Based in Portland, Oregon, Columbia has been creating innovative outdoor apparel since 1938 by channeling a passion for the outdoors with a commitment to creating sustainable and performance products. Columbia will outfit 2,000 members of National Park staff - including 300 rangers - with high-quality clothing designed to keep them warm, dry, cool and protected throughout the year.
Jacquie Burgess, Chair of National Parks UK says, “Columbia Sportswear is showing a strong commitment to the UK’s National Parks with this partnership. Providing clothing for more than 2,000 staff is a very significant contribution, supporting the very heart of our work. Columbia will take a leading role in helping to increase public understanding of our wonderful National Parks by sharing the stories of our people and our Parks over the coming five years.”
Indeed, the partnership also wishes to inspire a passion for the National Parks by sharing the stories of rangers, visitors and the Parks themselves; to establish a more emotional connection and to encourage visitors both from the UK and overseas. Currently, only 12% of the Parks' visitors come from abroad. Compare this to the USA, where the National Parks are an integral part of travel and tourism, and there is no reason to believe that the UK's Parks can't have the same reputation.
Steve Curl, Chair of National Parks Partnerships LLP, the organisation that facilitates corporate partnerships on behalf of the UK National Parks, says, “We applaud Columbia for this enlightened investment in the UK’s National Parks. This is a high-value partnership, enabling us to focus our resources towards looking after these special places for now and for future generations to enjoy. We have been hugely impressed by Columbia’s environmental and ethical commitments as well as their genuine enthusiasm for the UK’s National Parks and their plan for support over the next five years.”
Being big advocates of the UK's National Parks and wild spaces, Ramble is thrilled by this new partnership and excited to see what it will mean for our most-loved outdoor places. We hope a greater promotion of the Parks will ignite new passions for these places from both home and abroad, and put the beautiful landscapes we have here in the UK into a world-wide spotlight.