Weathering the COVID Storm

People around the world are psyched to kiss 2020 goodbye. The toll of the pandemic and associated economic and social disruptions have been a major source of struggle for many families and businesses, and Out There hasn’t been immune to the pandemic’s wrath either.

We are a small but spirited family business run by myself and my wife and co-publisher Shallan, a few dedicated independent contractor editors, and a couple dozen talented freelance writers and photographers. As a free niche newsprint magazine that’s become an important resource for the Inland Northwest’s outdoors community, each issue of Out There depends entirely on our loyal advertisers, a reality that is often overlooked by some readers.

That’s where you come in. If you love picking up Out There Outdoors for free and want to continue to be able to do so, we ask you to do us a favor. Pay attention to each issue’s advertisements that pay the magazine’s bills, and if you need something that any of them are offering, like a new ski jacket, bicycle, bag of coffee, race registration, electrolyte supplement, or whatever, make your purchase from one of those awesome Out There advertisers. They make this publication possible.

And if you’re so inclined, please let them know you’re giving them your business because they advertise in Out There. That conscious act with a verbal acknowledgment to a business or comment on their social media pages will make a HUGE difference.

We purposefully keep our business costs low and run an efficient ship—we have a small, solar-powered office for instance (thanks to our Eco Depot solar installation)—nevertheless we’ve had to adapt to the reality that our advertising declined due to the 2020 pandemic. Over the past year, we had to cancel an issue and combined a couple more and page count has dropped a bit. But we still managed to survive and stage a comeback even while other national outdoor rec publications perished (R.I.P Powder, Bike, Surfer and Snowboarder).

With an uncertain future ahead of us, we have opted to shift to a more sustainable schedule of printing 6 (hopefully bigger) issues of Out There in 2021, and to continue to build up our digital presence. If you don’t already follow us on Facebook or Instagram, please do it right now and visit our website for hike, ride, and trip ideas. We don’t keep all of our eggs in one basket, and we don’t let the grass grow under out feet either.

With the continued support of our loyal readers and advertisers, we’ll be around, churning out issues of Out There for years to come.

Derrick Knowles is co-publisher and editor-in-chief.

OTO Publisher Derrick Knowles enjoying winter sunshine. // Photo: Kyle Merritt

Check out our Social Distancing Survival Guide, a collection of content from the April 2020 issue and beyond, to help our readers navigate and adapt to pandemic impacts on outdoor recreation and routines.

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