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Lise Aangeenbrug, who has led the Outdoor Industry Association for nearly 2½ years, is stepping down as executive director of the Boulder-based trade group at the end of next week.

“Despite the many challenges we have seen as an industry and nation over the past two and a half years, the outdoor industry remains strong, and our members remain engaged,” Aangeenbrug wrote in a letter to OIA members posted to the association’s website. “The outdoor industry’s trade association is traveling in the best direction possible, which gives me confidence as I leave OIA to take some time to recharge outside and then join the National Park Foundation. Protecting and restoring public lands and waters and ensuring an outdoors for all has always been a major focus and motivation in my career.”

Aangeenbrug, formerly the leader of the OIA’s philanthropic arm Outdoor Foundation, was tapped for OIA’s top job in 2020.

Prior to joining the Outdoor Foundation, she was the executive vice president for the National Park Foundation. It’s unclear what her specific job will be when she rejoins NPF, but Aangeenbrug’s letter said that it is a “more philanthropic role in partnership with many in the outdoor industry.”

Aangeenbrug and other members of the OIA staff and board of directors did not respond to requests for comment.

The OIA board is searching for an interim director and will soon begin the search for a permanent leader.

Aangeenbrug’s tenure with OIA began in conjunction with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I took over as executive director on March 4 (2020). So within two weeks of taking the position, it became clear that the global pandemic was going to have a major impact on our industry,” she told BizWest in a July 2020 interview.

As the pandemic set in, portions of the outdoor industry thrived due to the sudden increase in demand for outdoor activities from people sick of being stuck inside for days and weeks on end.

However, this increased demand soon ran headlong into the supply-chain crunch of 2021, making it difficult for outdoor companies to fill orders.

“I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to serve the outdoor industry and be a part of the accomplishments that the OIA team achieved for our members over the past several years,” Aangeenbrug wrote in her resignation letter. “Like our industry, we had to pivot as the pandemic upended our business and personal lives, but we came out stronger for it.”

This article was first published by BizWest, an independent news organization, and is published under a license agreement. © 2022 BizWest Media LLC.