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Master of Environmental Science and Management: Master's Group Project

Identification and Communication of Climate Change Impacts on Rock Climbing and Trail Sports

Skier on snowy mountainside

Group Members: Sam Fearer, Karla Garibay Garcia, Will Geiken, Sage Kime, Matt Koller

Faculty Advisors: James Frew

Client: Protect Our Winters



Final Report

Executive Summary

Final Presentation


As outlined in the 2015 Paris Agreement, global policy reform is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global temperature increases to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Implementing these climate solutions at the domestic level requires widespread support across numerous stakeholder groups. Protect Our Winters (POW) is a non-profit organization that successfully mobilizes the winter sports community to engage in climate action through outreach campaigns. POW now seeks to create the most influential climate group in the U.S. by engaging the 50 million Americans who identify as outdoor enthusiasts, beginning with the rock climbing and trail sports (mountain biking, hiking, and trail running) communities. However, POW’s messaging strategy requires a clear understanding of how climate change will impact these sports. As such, this project outlines the demonstrated and projected impacts of climate change on the rock climbing and trail sports communities and explores opportunities for POW to expand its audience in five target states (AZ, CO, MT, NV, UT). While climate change will affect these communities and regions in different ways, the overarching impacts we identified are decreased access to recreation areas, threats to health, and a diminished overall experience. POW will use these findings to recruit members of the rock climbing and trail sports communities to advocate for systemic climate solutions.


Bren School: James Frew, Associate Professor; Allison Horst, Assistant Teaching Professor; Lisa Leombruni, Environmental Communication Program Director and Lecturer; Samantha Stevenson, Assistant Professor

Protect Our Winters: Brian Aucoin, Vice President, Marketing; Jake Black, Director, Programs; Lindsay Bourgoine, Vice President, Programs; Sam Killgore, Director, Membership; Donny O’Neill, Digital Content Producer

The DiPaola Foundation

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