Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services Tevi Troy Promotes Good Health Through the Great Outdoors

Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tevi Troy was the guest at the March Recreation Exchange, a special session held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the National Park Hospitality Association. Dr. Troy opened his remarks by recognizing that, while science and medical advancements allow people the opportunity to be among the healthiest who ever lived, “good health care is not up to others. Health care starts with self care.” Dr. Troy said that far too many people are not making the effort to take care of themselves, and as a result, chronic diseases have replaced infectious diseases as major killers. “Largely preventable chronic diseases cause seven in 10 deaths and consume three out of four dollars spent on healthcare,” he said.

National Get Outdoors Day Launches: Seeking 100 Sites and Diverse Partnerships

Washington, D.C. (February 28, 2008) Participants from dozens of federal agencies and non-profit organizations and the recreation industry gathered in Washington to launch National Get Outdoors Day, a new annual event to encourage healthy, active outdoor fun. On June 14, 2008, and each June thereafter, these partners will offer sites for American families to experience traditional and non-traditional types of outdoor activities. Prime goals of the day are reaching first-time visitors to public lands and reconnecting our youth to the great outdoors.

Outdoor Recreation Village

Outdoor Recreation Village Unites Many to Get Kids Off Couches and Into the Great Outdoors

Washington, DC (February 12, 2008) More than 40 organizations formed a unique team of outdoor advocates to help tens of thousands of visitors to Glendale, Arizona, drawn by Super Bowl XLII, discover healthy fun in the Great Outdoors. For four days, the organizations produced the first-ever Outdoor Recreation Village at one of the world’s top media events and used the Village as a platform to announce new initiatives to connect all Americans, and especially American youth, to the nation’s wonderful array of parks, forests, refuges and other public lands and waters.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Leaders Embrace New Recreation Strategy

Washington, DC (February 11, 2008) The leadership of the nation’s top provider of public outdoor recreation opportunities today expressed solid support for a new recreation strategy for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) that links agency recreation efforts both to the overall mission of the Corps and the U.S. Army to protect the nation’s health, safety and security and to special efforts to aid active duty, retired and reserve military and their families. The strategy seeks to continue the agency’s leading role in providing public recreation opportunities in America. It now hosts nearly 400 million recreation visits annually.

“The Obesity Epidemic: A Looming Crisis”

Dr. David Ludwig, a respected physician and researcher at the Children’s Hospital Boston and professor at Harvard Medical School, wrote an article which appeared in this month’s New England Journal of Medicine. In his paper, he compares obesity's consequences to those of global climate change:

"Without effective intervention, the costs of obesity might well become catastrophic, arising not only from escalating medical expenses but also from diminished worker productivity, caused by physical and psychological disabilities. Future economic losses could mean the difference between solvency and bankruptcy for Medicare, between expanding and shrinking health care coverage, and between investment in and neglect of our social infrastructure, with profound implications for our international competitiveness. The human costs would be incalculable."

National Parks and FYO8 Appropriations:

President Bush signed the fiscal year 2008 "Omnibus" appropriations bill on December 26, 2007. The FY08 budget provides funding for nearly $474 billion in domestic spending programs. The bill will provide an approximate $150 million boost in National Park Service operations budget and an immediate $25 million start-up for the Centennial Challenge Fund.

Outdoor Recreation Village 2008 in Glendale Will Highlight Excitement and Benefits of Active Outdoor Lives

Washington D.C. (December 20, 2007) - America’s wonderfully diverse outdoor recreation opportunities will be showcased and celebrated at the Outdoor Recreation Village from January 31 to February 3, 2008, at Westgate City Center (Glendale, AZ) in conjunction with the Big Game. The outdoors will be on display through the efforts of the American Recreation Coalition (ARC) and dozens of partners ranging from federal agencies which manage one-third of the surface of the nation to key recreation businesses, including Forever Resorts, LLC and The Coleman Company.

Visitors to the Outdoor Recreation Village can wander from “neighborhood” to “neighborhood” checking out all of the exciting recreation activities. A center stage will host special demonstrations by a diverse group of presenters, including the Arizona WOW-Wonderful Outdoor World campers. These inner-city youth will share their experiences of an overnight camp-out in the heart of their community which opened their eyes to healthy outdoor fun that is available on public lands across the nation.

America the Beautiful: Secretary Kempthorne Champions the Great Outdoors

Louisville, KY (November 27, 2007) U.S. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne was a featured speaker at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s 45th Annual National RV Trade Show. Mr. Kempthorne spoke to a record attendance of 1,200 participants at an early morning kick-off event. A long time RV owner and avid recreationist, Secretary Kempthorne called upon the RV community to lead efforts reconnecting our nation to the great outdoors. “This is a dynamic industry. You have the opportunity to help Americans get outdoors,” said Secretary Kempthorne.

Director Jim Caswell Shares His Personal Insights into the Future of the Bureau of Land Management

Jim Caswell, Director of the Bureau of Land Management, addressed the November Recreation Exchange with candor and insight. At his first speech to recreation industry members since his August 2007 U.S. Senate confirmation, Director Caswell shared his plans for the BLM and offered information on the breadth and depth of the agency, which administers nearly 300 million acres at an annual cost of less than $3 per acre.

Mr. Caswell opened his remarks by sharing his “core view” that we must keep our rural communities vibrant. “There is competition between people and wildlife for the best places to live,” Mr. Caswell said. He also told the group that he believes the key to multiple-use success is a partnership between private and public lands.