An outfitter is a shop or person that sells specialized clothes (an outfit is a set of clothing). More specifically, it is a company or individual who provides or deals in equipment and supplies for the pursuit of certain activities. The term is most closely associated with outdoor activities such as rafting, hunting, fishing, canoeing, hiking, and trail riding using pack stations. In this context, outfitters include those that offer services for outdoor tourism including accommodations and guide services. Furthermore, many retail stores and chains that sell outdoor sports gear are sometimes branding or calling themselves "outfitters", such as: Bass Pro Shops, Cabela's, REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.), and Mountain Equipment Co-op.
In the Canadian province of Alberta, guides and outfitters are monitored by and members of APOS (Alberta Professional Outfitters Society). APOS members adhere to strict guidelines in regards to their outfitting operations, thus APOS is the governing body of the outfitting industry in Alberta. In the province of Quebec, the Québec Outfitter Federation Inc. (Fédération des pourvoiries du Québec inc.) represents 375 member outfitters.
In the United States outfitters may be required to hold a state license to operate. Many outfitters provide equipment and services on lands administered by the National Forest Service and other federal agencies; these outfitters may be required by those agencies to obtain special use permits. In the state of Montana all fly fishing guides are required to register and work under the permit of an outfitter. Legislation exists in other states and is also being considered because of the inherent public safety concern and resource management issues in play with hunting and fishing activities.
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