Good morning and thank you all for coming together this morning to discuss NH’s conservation priorities.
My name is Ted Manning and I work for Eastern Mountain Sports as the Executive Vice President.
I have been working for EMS since 1989, and have been an active, outdoor person since I was 3 yrs old, in large degree due to my father’s love for being outside and my family’s ability to access outdoor places that were relatively close to our home.
As much as I enjoy time on Mt Washington or climbing in North Conway with our climbing school, I have never forgotten that many of the sports I love doing were born from local experiences, bouldering in Pawtuckaway and Mt Biking in Bear Brook.
Much has changed since those early hikes with my dad. I am a father myself, my wife and I raising 2 boys in the woods of Peterborough, 2 boys that would rather be outside.
Some of Alexander and Benjamin’s first “real hikes” were in Miller State Park in Peterborough. Raising a family in NH, I feel the weight of a responsibility, to not only care for my family, but to ensure that there will be places left for them to explore and to be able to introduce to their families someday.
I started at EMS working in our stores while I was in high school. It was fairly simple, go to school, play sports, study a bit and work at EMS on the weekends selling gear to folks about to go on adventures.
Today, my weeks aren’t quite that simple. I do have the fortune to work with our product and marketing teams to make sure we have the gear you need to be outside and the store and school experience that help you feel confident going out.
I have a pretty good gig. Truth be told, I love my job.
I work for a great company filled with great people, I am constantly inspired to be outside, I am able to partner thru my career with impactful NH organizations like the Mt Washington Observatory and NH State Parks. And I get to live and raise my family in this beautiful state.
EMS has been in the outdoor business since 1967. 44 yrs of helping people get outdoors into the wilds of New England. The business of EMS is driven by outdoor recreation.
We create opportunities for people to be active outside and to enjoy themselves in any conditions. You guys help create and protect outdoor spaces for them to play.
We help create outdoor advocates by introducing them to new sports and teaching them in our schools. You make sure their voices are heard.
And together we partner to the best of our ability in the fight to conserve and protect our outdoor spaces.
These outdoor spaces in NH range from the wild and pristine reaches of the White Mts, to the fire tower on the summit of Pack Monadnock, and all the way to the quieter walks along the shore at Odiorne. Regardless of the scale or grandeur of the location, they all add tremendous value to our lives.
They give us a place to recreate and to learn about ourselves by pushing our physical boundaries, no matter where those boundaries begin.
They create a space for deep and meaningful connections. Connections with our families, our communities and ourselves.
These special outdoor spaces drive our businesses, some driven literally like the business of providing gear and education for outdoor athletes. Others driven indirectly thru the tourism that comes to NH to enjoy these very same places.
And they add something to our souls. By being outdoors and engaging nature, we simply become better humans.
I really love what I do. I help run a NH based business that is driven by the outdoors and at the same time am presented with opportunities to conserve and protect the special, wild places found throughout the state.
I work in an industry where capitalism and environmentalism are comfortably seated at the same table, where there is shared understanding that what is good for our natural spaces, is good for our communities and equally good for our businesses. Not that different than all of you.
And like all of you, folks at EMS work passionately and diligently to succeed in both our careers and in the protection and enjoyment of the waters and wilderness of NH.
We really respect all the conservation efforts and accomplishments that have come from the people and organizations in this room.
And we thank you for the work we will do together to ensure NH remains a destination for anyone who wants to experience the best of what New England has to offer.
EMS is particularly proud of our partnership with NH State Parks. This is not a partnership that is based on a singular desire to sell more products. This is a partnership that was born in the moment of recognition of the values we shared. Both organizations worked hard with limited resources so that they could do the work they loved, they are both proud to do that work in NH and they both understand that their jobs and their lives are diminished if they don’t work together to protect all the truly magical opportunities that can be found outdoors.
I am optimistic that all of us will collectively continue to make positive strides in the conservation of NH this year.
But I am driven by our future. We must protect the opportunity for future businesses to grow and prosper in NH and be connected to the outdoors. We must ensure that NH State Parks continue to play their role in both the economic and environmental ecosystems that drive NH. And we must ensure that the next generation, including Alexander and Benjamin, can grow up knowing and learning from the special wild places of our great state.