Recreation Exchange

Congressman Sam Farr Urges Recreation Community to Streamline Travel and Recreation Opportunities

U.S. Representative Sam Farr (D-CA) was the special guest at the January 2009 Recreation Exchange hosted by the American Recreation Coalition. Mr. Farr, a longtime champion of the outdoors and tourism, spoke on opportunities for outdoor recreation and travel through the economic stimulus package being readied for congressional action. Those opportunities will assist increased marketing, planning and partnerships. The Congressman called for a new effort to fight the “silo mentality” he finds in federal agencies and even local tourism organizations that ignores the public’s interest in finding great things to do across agency and local government boundaries. Mr. Farr also had high praise for programs like the National Park Service’s Centennial Challenge Fund, which matches government appropriations with private funding, saying, “If we put our heads together, we get more bang for our buck!”

With the House vote on the economic stimulus package less than 24 hours away, Mr. Farr outlined the $2+ billion in benefits for public lands that the package includes. The National Park Service (NPS) stands to receive $1.7 billion for deferred maintenance projects and another $100 million for the NPS Centennial Challenge, which will in turn accrue $100 million more from private sector partners’ matching donations. Other agencies, including the Forest Service, will also receive additional funding for readily doable projects. Mr. Farr pointed out that just the week before, the National Mall hosted one of the largest gatherings America has ever seen – an estimated 1.8 million people attended the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Mr. Farr emphasized the importance of maintaining and improving iconic sites like the National Mall that all Americans cherish. While questions about the specifics of the economic stimulus remain, Mr. Farr told the group it is clear that public lands funds will benefit thousands of American workers by sustaining existing jobs and helping to create new employment opportunities on America’s public lands.


L to R: Steve Richer, National Tour Association; Congressman Farr; Jim Santini, National Tour Association; Derrick Crandall, American Recreation Coalition

Four Top Natural Resource and Recreation Figures Share Views on Obama Administration and Recreation Program Prospects

A panel of seasoned natural resource and conservation leaders with experience in and out of top government posts told recreation community leaders during a special November Recreation Exchange what they expect to see as the new Obama Administration takes shape. The session was held in the venerable Occidental Restaurant, just a block from the White House as President George W. Bush and President-elect Barack Obama met in the Oval Office to discuss Transition efforts. The panel addressed both opportunities and challenges but reached a consensus that recreation and conservation issues could do well if the recreation community organizes promptly and relates recreation to Obama Administration priorities, including economic recovery and healthcare improvements.

Thom Dammrich at November 2008 Recreation Exchange

ARC Chairman Thom Dammrich moderates the Q&A session of the November 2008 Recreation Exchange

November 2008 Recreation Exchange Panel

L to R: Jim Lyons, Tom Fry, Doug Wheeler

Interior Assistant Secretary Lyle Laverty Promotes Partnerships and the Need to Get Children Outdoors

Lyle Laverty, Interior Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, addressed the September Recreation Exchange with a call for more innovative partnerships. His remarks included an emphasis on the importance of children-and-nature initiatives and the observation that goals here and for other priorities will be best achieved by replacing talk of partnerships with “the real thing.”

Mr. Laverty championed interagency connectivity and synergy to best serve the interests of the American people. He stressed the importance of bringing the “federal family” together on recreation efforts, and cited a new “Pledge of Cooperation” on outreach to youth as demonstrating both the commitment to interagency partnerships and the ability to leverage agency strength through cooperation. Mr. Laverty also commented that the current atmosphere of financial uncertainty allows for greater incentives for federal agencies to partner with the private and nonprofit sectors and to engage volunteers in their efforts.

Transformation in Environmental Strategy Underway, Says CEQ Leader

Delivering an energetic and visionary message during a return appearance before the Recreation Exchange, James Connaughton, Chairman of the Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ), said that the administration is enthusiastic about opportunities still ahead and moving forward vigorously to implement its “transformative cooperative conservation strategy.” To read the full report, click here.

Lawrence Lang, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Addresses the April Recreation Exchange

(Washington) – Gaining the power to retain recreation fees and applying the new America the Beautiful Pass to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) sites were among the topics addressed by Lawrence Lang, Deputy Director of Operations and Civil Works, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, at the April Recreation Exchange. To read a report of April's Recreation Exchange, click here.

Mark Rey Explains the Bush Administration’s Secure Rural Schools Proposal at ARC's Recreation Exchange

(Washington, D.C.) - The March 2006 Recreation Exchange featured Mark Rey, Under Secretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and the Environment, who oversees the Forest Service and a variety of other key programs. Mr. Rey addressed the Administration’s proposal to re-authorize the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act of 2000 for an additional five years.

To read this report, click here.

Fact Sheet: Secure Rural Schools Forest Service FY 2007 Initiative

The Bush Administration has proposed a five-year extension of the "Secure Rural School and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000,” or SRS, which aids rural communities adversely impacted by a decline in USDA Forest Service timber receipts which are, in part, shared with the counties on which the timber originates. The Act was initially funded with general revenues; the Administration proposes to extend the law using proceeds from the sale of surplus national forest lands. The Forest Service has now posted a list of tracts totaling 309,000 acres in more than 40 states that it wants to make available for sale to fund the extension. The funds – $800 million over the five years – would be divided among 735 eligible counties in 41 states.