onX Access and Stewardship:
Our Philosophy

At onX, outdoor adventure is part of our DNA. We believe everyone has a right to experience nature and the recreational opportunities that it provides.

Access to nature can be threatened by industrial development, land changing ownership, suburban sprawl, public land policies, user group disagreements, or misuse and abuse that leads to closures. Since 2001, the United States has lost over an acre of natural habitat every 30 seconds. Furthermore, there are millions of acres of public land that we can’t legally access without the permission from a neighboring landowner. Our current and future outdoor recreation and hunting opportunities are being fragmented, scaled down, and lost. At the same time, the popularity of outdoor activities is increasing, so stewardship of the land and resources that we do have access to is ever more critical.

For some, the barriers to accessing the outdoors are much more personal. A long history of discrimination, disposession, exclusion, and segregation has resulted in people of color and low-income communities not having equitable access to nature. Not all people feel safe going to public land, land that is mandated to serve everyone. Those with different abilities may find recreation infrastructure built for and by non-disabled people doesn’t welcome them. And some people face all of these barriers.

The onX company mission is to awaken the adventurer inside everyone. But these barriers—land development, closures, discrimination, exclusionary design—mean that having the best mapping tool is only the first step to finding adventure. All these barriers are national challenges that will require collaboration between nonprofit organizations, for-profit businesses, and every level of government. That’s why onX is committed to leveraging our strengths to:

  • Help protect the access to outdoor recreation that exists
  • Advocate for more access
  • For everyone

Our Core Beliefs:

Everyone should have access to nature. The physical and mental health benefits of time spent in nature, including reducing anxiety and blood pressure and increasing mental focus and immune system function, are universal—whether it’s someone’s first time or one-hundredth time in the outdoors.

When people feel connected to the land, they are more likely to preserve and protect it. We can form bonds with places just as much as we form bonds with people and pets. When a place we’ve never been to is threatened, we might think it’s a shame and move on. But when a place we know and love is threatened, we will jump into action. Every place needs an advocate.

Publicly accessible land helps equalize everyone’s access to recreation, and also plays a critical role in local economies and the outdoor industry. Few people have the means to own a large swath of land perfectly suited to their outdoor pursuit. Public lands and publicly accessible private lands create the opportunities most of us rely on. These places—the trail systems, parks, campgrounds, huntable land, and boat launches—offer connections to nature. They also power the outdoor industry and bolster local economies.

While we want everyone to have access to outdoor recreation and we support all forms of outdoor recreation, not all places are suitable for every outdoor activity, and some places might not be suitable for any. All outdoor recreation activities impact habitats and resident species to some degree. Some ecosystems are simply too rare or too fragile, and some sites are too sacred to disturb.

The management of public lands requires a balanced approach that hinges on public input and scientific review. Public lands are asked to do a lot: provide habitat for wildlife, trails and open space for outdoor recreation, and supply energy, minerals, and building materials. On public land, we seek adrenaline and rest, food and fresh air, social gatherings and solitude. Many of these uses are at odds with each other and need to be separated, so we have not one but several land management agencies, as well as management plans that are specific to each area. Public land agencies are accountable to every interest. That’s why input from various experts including ecologists and wildlife biologists, as well as private landowners and all outdoor enthusiasts, present critical perspectives to overall land management decisions. It is important that outdoor user groups—hikers, hunters, mountain bikers, backpackers, dirt bikers, paddlers, overlanders, skiers, snowmobilers, climbers, anglers, everyone—participate early and often in the process of public land management. Collaboration before a decision is more cost-effective and forward-thinking than litigation after a decision. Oftentimes, that collaboration depends on compromise.

A coalition of outdoor enthusiasts is stronger than divided groups. The various outdoor communities don’t always agree on how public lands should be managed. But the fact is, industrial development and suburban sprawl are larger threats to our ability to access public lands and waters, and every outdoor community is impacted, directly or indirectly. Efforts to preserve recreational access and keeping open land open will be more effective when outdoor enthusiasts work side-by-side, instead of focusing on our differences and fighting individual battles. By standing up for everyone’s right to access the outdoors, we’ll protect our own right to adventure.

There are many solutions to improving access to the outdoors, but all solutions need advocates. Just as there are a myriad of threats to accessing recreation opportunities, there are just as many solutions. There are real estate transactions, policy and legal solutions, cooperative agreements, and private landowners willing to open their gates. Improving and expanding access will require a village of passionate outdoor recreators to advocate for implementing all of these solutions, and to be good stewards of the land we gain access to.

Our Commitments:

The majority of onX customers rely on access to public land. As such, we have a duty to educate our audience on the importance of being good stewards of these places. We have also prioritized advocating on behalf of our audience for solutions to access challenges.

At onX we leverage our data, analytical capabilities, platforms, and relationships with land management agencies to illustrate access and stewardship challenges, promote solutions, empower community action, and build support for legislative action. See our Projects.

We devote a portion of our sales every year to help improve and secure access to public land and water. By 2023, onX has a goal to help secure or expand public access to 150,000 acres, and help to restore, secure, or build 150 miles of trails. See our Progress.

We build tools to equip hunters, off-roaders, and human-powered recreationists with the information to plan ahead, and with the in-field navigation to stay the course, so that our community of users can help reduce impacts to habitats. Explore our Products.

We also recognize that we don’t have all the answers, so we search for those who are leading by example, and pass them the microphone. See the Stories.

We practice what we preach. Our employees volunteer their time to river cleanups, trail maintenance, land trust committees, and fundraising events. See their Work.

Four Ways You Can Get Involved with Access and Stewardship:

Hunter using onX Hunt

1. When there’s a call to action, answer it.

  • Participate in the public planning of public lands. Submit your priorities and perspective during public comment periods. Write or call your representatives when places you care about face an uncertain future. Sign up for alerts from conservation organizations so you know when bills are introduced, plans are being revised, and comment periods are taking place.
  • Speak up for your community and help ensure historically marginalized communities have opportunities to speak up, too.
  • Pay attention to the threats and challenges faced by public lands and waters outside of your own region. Is there some way you can help? Imagine if that scenario was playing out in your favorite places: what would you do, and who would you seek help from? Keep your eyes and ears open to solutions that have worked in other areas.
off roading with onx offroad

2. Be a good steward of the land you have access to.

  • Plan your outings before you head out. Check the regulations, check the weather, and know your route. Then stick to your plan. These actions can help you reduce your impact on the places you visit.
  • Make a plan B in case your first choice is too crowded when you arrive. A few signs that a destination is too crowded: overflowing trash bins, vandalism, and people parking in front of No Parking signs. Rather than following the crowds and exacerbating impacts, search out new adventures. Consider reporting these situations to the land manager.
  • Learn how to Leave No Trace and TreadLightly! and help your friends do the same.
backpacking with onx backcountry

3. Know where you stand… and why you can stand there.

  • Thank the hard-working heroes at land management agencies and land trusts.
  • Thank private landowners who open their lands to the public. Treat their land as if it belonged to your best friend or favorite grandparent. 
  • Be curious about the land’s past and respect those that were there before you.
get outside with onx backcountry

4. Get outside and know your habitat.

  • Familiarize yourself with the unique vulnerabilities of the habitats you visit. For example, are you headed to a desert with cryptobiotic soils or charting a course through sensitive, high alpine meadows? Understanding these special ecosystems will help you limit your impacts.
  • Learn about the birds and insects you hear, get to know the plants you see, and locate the source of scents you smell. Your experience will be richer.
  • Enjoy being outside!