American Recreation Coalition

BLM's New Acting Director James Hughes Addresses Recreation Exchange

James M. Hughes, Acting Director of the Bureau of Land Management, was the special guest at ARC’s February Recreation Exchange. In his first speech since taking this new position, Mr. Hughes talked about challenges and new initiatives for BLM’s recreation program. For a summary of his remarks, click here. For an image, click here.

Great Outdoors Week 2007: June 11-15

Washington, D.C. (February 9, 2007) - Great Outdoors Week 2007, June 11 -15, will highlight efforts underway to enhance outdoor recreation for all Americans in the 21st century. Topics to be addressed in a series of forums throughout the week include: improving health through recreation; children and the outdoors; declining visitorship and access to public land; public-private partnerships; ensuring strong recreational trails and scenic byways programs, and more.

Great Outdoors Week is coordinated by the American Recreation Coalition (ARC) and includes events hosted by more than a dozen federal agencies and national organizations. This year an exciting new effort to link National Physical Fitness and Sports Month (May) with Great Outdoors Month (June) will focus on the enormous potential of the Great Outdoors to be the country’s “outdoor physical fitness center” for combating both childhood and adult obesity. This is a timely topic for Great Outdoors Week. Obesity, particularly childhood obesity, is the focus of a new national media campaign recently announced by President and Mrs. Bush. The campaign will enlist animated movie favorite Shrek to encourage children to eat better and get regular outdoor exercise.

ARC Takes Part In President's Roundtable on the National Parks Centennial Challenge

Luray, Virginia (February 7, 2007) - President George W. Bush presided over a Roundtable on the National Parks Centennial Initiative held today in the Shenandoah National Park. Attending were Mrs. Bush, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne and National Park Director Mary Bomar, as well as representatives of the recreation and conservation communities. ARC’s Derrick Crandall was one of those invited to speak at the almost two-hour meeting.

In his opening remarks, the President said “today we're going to talk about an initiative called the National Parks Centennial Initiative. And I'm looking forward to hearing from our fellow citizens about ways to make sure this initiative fully honors the Park System.” Recognizing the importance of partnerships for the success of the challenge, he remarked that “Dirk and I and others in this administration have come up with what we call the National Parks Centennial Initiative. It's a bold program that calls upon the government to do its part, as well as our citizens to become invested in a campaign to really enhance the parks.”

President Bush Asked to Proclaim June "Great Outdoors Month 2007"

Washington, D.C. (February 5, 2007) - President George W. Bush was asked last week to issue a proclamation designating June 2007 “Great Outdoors Month” for the fourth time. Making the request were the American Recreation Coalition, The Conservation Fund, the National Wildlife Federation, and the National Recreation and Park Association, representing more than 60 supporting organizations, and Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods.

A June proclamation is suggested because it is the first month of active summer recreation activities, as well as a month with high visitation to America’s public lands. Dozens of events held nationally during this month will highlight the link between participation in outdoor recreation and improved health, especially decreased obesity.

President Bush: Fight Childhood Obesity in the Great Outdoors

Washington, D.C. (February 2, 2007) - Yesterday, the President and Mrs. Bush praised the importance of outdoor recreation in combating the epidemic of childhood obesity in the U.S. Meeting at the White House with leaders from the media, entertainment, food and beverage and advertising sectors, Mr. Bush encouraged them to join the federal government’s efforts to combat childhood obesity through their products and advertising.

“One way for this nation to cope with the issue of obesity is to get people outside - whether it be through sports or hiking or conservation. So we’ll encourage them to do that, encourage parents to encourage their children to participate in the great outdoors,”

Accomplishments of The National Scenic Byways Program Marked in Washington

Washington, D.C. (December 11, 2006)- The 15th Anniversary of the National Scenic Byways Program was marked by top public and private sector leaders in Washington, DC on December 11, 2006. Called “A Celebration and A Look Ahead,” the celebration included an afternoon symposium at the historic Stephen Decatur House featuring byways pioneers and representatives of organizations that support and sustain the National Scenic Byways Program today.

The evening portion of the celebration was held in the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s hearing room in the Rayburn Office Building and drew Congressional champions, Department of Transportation officials past and present and national Scenic Byways supporters. Thirteen key byways advocates were presented first-ever “Byways Pioneer Awards.”

Common themes emerged in a day of both looking back and moving forward:

Partners Outdoors 2007: Unlocking the Fun and Benefits of the Outdoors to Urban Americans

National recreation leaders from the public and private sectors will gather for the 16th Partners Outdoors Conference on January 7-10, 2007 in Lake Arrowhead, California. Organized annually by the American Recreation Coalition (ARC), this year’s theme is “Unlocking the Fun and Benefits of the Outdoors to Urban Americans, And Especially Urban Youth.” Sponsors include the seven federal land management agencies, the National Association of State Park Directors and the American Recreation Coalition.

Charles Jordan, Chairman of the Conservation Fund, will give the opening address, “Connecting Americans to the Outdoors: Communications, Places and Programs.” Responders will include Robert Johnson, Commissioner, Bureau of Reclamation, Sally Collins, Associate Chief, USDA Forest Service and other top agency officials.

Pioneering Program Introduces Urban Youth to Outdoor Experiences, Healthier Lifestyles

Washington, D.C. (November 8)–A health and lifestyle strategy to provide inner-city and other economically disadvantaged children with an introduction to America’s national parks, campgrounds and other outdoor recreation opportunities on public lands will be expanded in 2007 to include more participants and more varied experiences, according to a coalition of government agencies, corporations and others that sponsor Wonderful Outdoor World (WOW).

WOW national spokesperson Derrick Crandall said, “Urban environments, particularly for children of color, often are places with few opportunities to socialize and recreate safely. WOW works to change lives by offering young people fun and often life-altering outdoor adventures which they would otherwise be unlikely to enjoy.”

The National Scenic Byways Program: A Celebration and Look Ahead

Washington, D.C. (October 18, 2006) – The National Scenic Byways Program celebrates its 15th anniversary in December and the occasion will be marked in Washington, D.C., with “The National Scenic Byways Program: A Celebration and Look Ahead” on December 11, 2006. For a complete schedule of the program and a list of program sponsors, click here.

Sponsored by the Scenic Byways Coalition in cooperation with the America’s Byways Resource Center, the half-day program will begin at 1:00 pm at the Stephen Decatur House with welcoming remarks by the Honorable J. Richard Capka, Federal Highway Administrator. The program will include a visual history of the America’s Byways program and recollections of the program’s earliest champions. Distinguished guests will discuss the history and accomplishments of the National Scenic Byways program.

Forest Service Chief Announces 2007 Recreation Forums, New Challenge Cost Share to Benefit Recreation

Washington, DC - (October 17, 2006) - Dale Bosworth, Chief of the USDA Forest Service, told the Recreation Exchange that his agency is making progress in its effort to reposition itself for the 21st century, including a much higher role for recreation - in spite of budgetary constraints caused by the war on terror and unprecedented wildfire activity. These achievements include:

  • development of the Travel Management rule in response to the threat of unmanaged recreation and now being implemented;

  • passage of the Recreation Enhancement Act to sustain recreation management and to provide for stakeholder input into the use of fee-generated funds through Recreation Resource Advisory Committees; and

  • Recreation Site Facility Master Planning, a process to combine analysis of use trends with financial analysis to provide, in consultation with the public, “the best recreation opportunities in the right places.”

To read more, click here.