Great Outdoors Week

Great Outdoors Week 2010

Secretary Vilsack with Legends Award Winners during Great Outdoors Week celebrations

2010 Legends Awards

Secretary Vilsack with 2010 Legends Award winners representing six federal agencies

Secretary Vilsack

Secretary Vilsack addresses the crowd at the June 2010 Recreation Exchange

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack discusses AGO Initiative, praises outdoor recreation leaders at June Recreation Exchange

Tom Vilsack, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was the special guest at the June 2010 Recreation Exchange, hosted by the American Recreation Coalition (ARC). Top federal agency representatives and recreation enthusiasts gathered on Agriculture’s Whitten Patio to hear the Secretary’s remarks about the Obama Administration’s America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) Initiative and for the presentation of ARC’s 2010 Legends Awards.

Harris Sherman, Under Secretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and the Environment, introduced the Secretary and praised his key role in implementing President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative. Mr. Sherman recognized the importance of outdoor recreation, particularly its ability to connect people to the environment, its contribution to the health of Americans, and its economic importance. He also noted that the upcoming National Get Outdoors Day (GO-Day) – which introduces children and families, many of them first-time public land users, to fun outdoor activities and outdoor recreation skills – was a prime example of the great work that can be accomplished through partnerships between land management agencies and non-governmental organizations, and he cited GO-Day as a wonderful way to connect people to their local national forests.

Exciting Plans for Great Outdoors Week and Great Outdoors Month 2010

Washington, D.C. – Excitement is growing across the nation about plans for Great Outdoors Week and Great Outdoors Month 2010. Great Outdoors Month celebrates a variety of important events and actions that occur during June, and highlights the benefits of active fun outdoors and our magnificent shared resources of forests, parks, refuges and other public lands and waters. Great Outdoors Week (June 7-12) showcases efforts enhancing outdoor recreation for all Americans in the 21st century through awards, briefings and other events in the Nation’s Capital.

Great Outdoors Week is coordinated by the American Recreation Coalition (ARC) and includes events co-hosted by more than a dozen federal agencies and national organizations. Great Outdoors Week's action-packed schedule will feature a special presentation of the Beacon Awards – honoring innovative uses of technology in public lands management – at the Patuxent Wildlife Refuge, an ice cream social with “celebrity scoopers” from the public land management agencies followed by a walk on the National Mall, a presentation of the Legends Awards honoring outstanding public land management employees, the Recreational Trails Program award ceremony and briefing, a Recreation Exchange Luncheon, and a youth fishing event on the National Mall.

ARC Salutes 2009 Legends Award Winners

Washington, D.C. — The American Recreation Coalition (ARC) presented its 2009 Legends Awards to seven federal managers in recognition of their outstanding work to improve outdoor recreation experiences and opportunities for the American people. The awards were presented on June 9, 2009 during Great Outdoors Week – ARC’s celebration of the value and importance of outdoor recreation. Initiated by ARC in 1991, the Legends Award program involves seven federal agencies: Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Federal Highway Administration, National Park Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service. Each agency nominates an individual whose extraordinary personal efforts have made a real difference in enhancing outdoor recreation programs and resources.

Recipients of the 2009 Legends Awards are: James Jennings, Bureau of Land Management; Jay Leasure, Bureau of Reclamation; Dan Johnson, Federal Highway Administration; Christopher K. Jarvi, National Park Service; Miles Johnson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Kelly Blackledge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and Laurie A. Thorpe, U.S. Forest Service.

American Recreation Coalition Announces 2006 Beacon Awards

Washington, D.C. - Outstanding efforts by five federal agencies and partners in harnessing the power of technology to improve public recreation experiences and federal recreation program management will be recognized with the 2006 Beacon Awards at the opening ceremony of Great Outdoors Week. Seven Beacon Awards will be presented on Monday, June 12 at the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Great Outdoors Week 2006: Meeting the Needs of Americans Today and Tomorrow

(Washington, D.C.) - Great Outdoors Week 2006, June 12 -17, will highlight efforts underway to enhance outdoor recreation for all Americans in the 21st century. Volunteerism, public-private partnerships, improving health through recreation, ensuring strong recreational trails and scenic byways programs and more are topics to be addressed in a series of forums throughout the week.

Great Outdoors Week will again be coordinated by the American Recreation Coalition (ARC) and will include events hosted by more than a dozen federal agencies and national organizations. Public/private cooperative ventures – like Take Pride in America – will be highlighted, along with presentations of key awards, including the 18th annual Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award, ARC’s Legends Awards to outstanding federal recreation program officials and best practices awards by the Coalition for Recreational Trails. The second annual Beacon Awards, recognizing innovative uses of technology in visitor services and recreation management on federal lands, will also be presented.

Great Outdoors Week 2005 Report

Great Outdoors Week 2005

Washington, D.C. - Great Outdoors Week 2005 brought together hundreds of leaders from the outdoor recreation community for meetings, discussion and celebrations of significant achievements. Strengthening the link between outdoor recreation and health was central to the week’s proceedings. The need for a comprehensive look at recreation policies and programs was stressed to better recreation not only now but also the foreseeable future. “Important progress has occurred, and needs to continue in crafting a new blueprint for recreation in the 21st century and in emphasizing the ties between key societal issues and recreation,” said American Recreation Coalition (ARC) President Derrick Crandall.

Great Outdoors Week is the highlight of Great Outdoors Month, a month-long celebration of outdoor recreation, which also features events such as National Trails Day, National Fishing and Boating Week, and National Clean Beaches Week. For the second consecutive year, Great Outdoors Month was designated by a Presidential Proclamation extolling the virtues of outdoor recreation and volunteerism. President George W. Bush noted that “outdoor recreation provides an opportunity to enjoy the splendor of our Nation’s remarkable natural treasures and reminds us of our responsibility to be good stewards of the environment.” The full proclamation is attached.

Great Outdoors Month 2005


Washington, D.C. - President George W. Bush has proclaimed June 2005 as Great Outdoors Month, citing the public’s shared legacy of parks, forests, refuges and other places and calling for both enjoyment and protection of these special places. He also noted the special efforts of public lands volunteers. The proclamation was issued on June 1 and says, in part:

Americans are blessed by our country's expansive landscapes, diverse wildlife, and beautiful public lands. Outdoor recreation provides an opportunity to enjoy the splendor of our Nation's remarkable natural treasures and reminds us of our responsibility to be good stewards of the environment. Across our great Nation, Americans are taking that responsibility seriously and volunteering to help keep our natural areas beautiful for future generations. I commend these citizens for helping to protect our public lands, and I encourage all Americans to do their part. The Department of the Interior's Take Pride in America website and the USA Freedom Corps website offer examples of ways to participate in environmental stewardship projects.