American Recreation Coalition

ARC Statement on the Release of the National Park Service Management Policies

Washington, DC - The National Park Service Management Policies are an important means to provide guidance to agency officials in the field. We reviewed and offered written suggestions to Fall 2005 and June 2006 drafts of this document. We know that our comments have been reviewed by the agency and we anticipate that the final document will incorporate consideration of our views. Many of the media reports on the development of this document have been inaccurate, both regarding our goals and our view on the document as a total package.

Our goal has never been to use the Management Policies document to increase specific activities or lessen conservation of park natural and cultural resources. Those are the values sought by visitors to our park units. Our goal remains that visitors receive memorable experiences that deliver mental, physical and spiritual benefits from our national park system, and that the diversity of that system be recognized and continued. Of the 270 million visits to the system annually, just 23% are to units like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, which are national parks. National recreation areas, national seashores, national parkways and other units are also prized, but offer a variety of opportunities – including active recreation. This is appropriate and should continue.

Route 66 Scenic Byway Travelers Go Geocaching

ROUTE 66 -- Gearing up for Route 66's 80th anniversary, the Automobile Club of Southern California is hiding 12 caches for travelers to find at a variety of locations along Route 66, a National Scenic Byway, as part of a geocaching treasure hunt.

Geocaching, a combination of "geo" for geography and "caching" for hiding a cache, is a 5-year-old high-tech scavenger hunt using handheld Global Positioning System (GPS) units. The units are used to hide and track down "geocaches," containers filled with goodies and sometimes valuable objects. In the geocaching world, hunting and finding the location of the containers at scenic sites also count as prizes.

The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy at 25: A Partnership Success Story

This August marks the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy’s 25th year of operation, and they are excited to celebrate a quarter century of supporting the national parklands at the Golden Gate through partnerships and volunteerism. Over this time, the organization has raised more than $100 million in park aid - more than any other nonprofit park association has provided to a national park in the U.S., according to the Association of Partners for Public Lands.

Among their achievements are transforming 100 acres of asphalt into a spectacular shoreline park at Crissy Field; serving more than 15 million visitors with the Alcatraz audio tour; growing 1 million native plants for restoration projects; enlisting 150,000 volunteers who have provided 4 million hours of volunteer time; producing more than 600 books, maps, guides and interpretive products; and building 4 new visitor centers.

ARC Outlines Position on June 2006 NPS Draft Management Policies

There has been a remarkable amount of attention to – and misinformation regarding – the "final draft" of the National Park Service Management Policies issued in June 2006. Hearings have been held in both the House and the Senate and the draft has been the focus of dozens of articles in newspapers large and small.

Many ARC members are concerned about the dramatic changes in the "final draft" versus the fall 2005 proposal issued for comments by the National Park Service. Although the Management Policies do not alter laws or regulations, the document does establish a tone for decision making by the superintendents overseeing 390 units and providing some 270 million experiences annually. Often forgotten is the diversity of these units – from Wilderness parks in Alaska to urban playgrounds in Washington, New York and San Francisco.

Secretary Kempthorne Visits Country Coach Plant

(Junction City, Oregon) - Country Coach, Inc. (CCI), a highline motorcoach manufacturer celebrating 33 years in the recreation vehicle industry, hosted a visit from U.S. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne on July 13. He visited with Company President Jay Howard, and joined in an extensive tour of the process of building and testing a luxury diesel motorcoach.

ARC Supports Reauthorization of NPS Advisory Board

(Washington, DC) - The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on National Parks recently conducted an oversight hearing on the operations of the National Park System Advisory Board, first created in 1935. Witnesses at the June hearing were NPS Director Fran Mainella, Advisory Board Chairman Douglas Wheeler and Derrick Crandall, President of the American Recreation Coalition. To read more about this issue and ARC's testimony, click here.

Long-time Kempthorne Aide Gary L. Smith Addresses July Recreation Exchange

Gary L. Smith, newly-appointed Director of External and Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of the Interior, brought a strong message of cooperation and consultation with recreation interests to July’s Recreation Exchange. Mr. Smith, who has worked with Secretary Kempthorne at the local, state and national levels for 19 years, emphasized the Secretary’s deep interest and commitment to recreation on public lands - values shared by his staff. He characterized the Secretary’s style as deliberative, bringing sometimes-disparate groups together for inclusive, collaborative problem-solving - a style which has succeeded in the past to resolve environmental conflict.

Recreation Leaders Celebrate Interstate's 50th Anniversary

Recreation industry leaders played a prominent role when hundreds of transportation officials and industry leaders gathered in Washington to celebrate the 50th anniversary of America’s Interstate highway system this week. The observance culminated June 28 and 29 in Washington D.C. with a forum and celebration of the arrival of a cross-country convoy that made its way from California along the nation’s 46,000-mile Interstate system.

To read more about this historic event, click here.

Outdoor Industry Foundation Publishes "2006 Outdoor Recreation Participation Study"

The Outdoor Industry Foundation has recently published its “2006 Outdoor Recreation Participation Study” on the web. This 8th annual study found that while participation increased across the 22 outdoor activities it surveys from 159 million Americans age 16 and older in 2004 to 161.6 million in 2005, outings decreased by 11%. In 2005, Americans 16 and older took a total of 7.3 billion outings compared to 8.3 billion outings in 2004. A few of the findings include:

Bicycling and fishing accounted for the bulk of the decline in outings, with an approximate 800,000 and 300,000 outing decrease respectively. Despite that, both these sports ranked among the top five for most outings in 2005: bicycling (3.1 billion), trail running (1.3 billion), fishing (1 billion), hiking (800 million), and camping (347 million).

Great Outdoors Week 2006 Report

Washington, D.C. - Great Outdoors Week 2006 (June 12-17) brought together hundreds of outdoor recreation leaders for meetings, discussions and celebrations of significant achievements. This year’s theme -- Meeting the Needs of Americans Today and Tomorrow – brought focus to volunteerism, public-private partnerships, improving health through recreation, recreational trails and scenic byways programs, the unveiling of the internet-based Toolbox for the Great Outdoors, Second Edition and public lands access challenges. Two dozen important national awards were a key highlight of the week’s events.