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.

Senate Approves the Nomination of Dirk Kempthorne to be Secretary of the Interior

Washington, D.C. – On May 26, the U.S. Senate confirmed by voice vote the nomination of Dirk Kempthorne to be Secretary of the Interior. To read Senator Domenici's statement on the confirmation, click here.

President's Proclamation of Great Outdoors Month 2006

On May 23, President George W. Bush issued a proclamation designating June 2006 as Great Outdoors Month. This is the third year the President has taken this action and the number and variety of activities which will take place during the month continues to expand. The month will kick off with 800 volunteers at work in Anacostia Park, a unit of the National Park Service in Washington, DC -- the annual PricewaterhouseCoopers Take Pride in America Workday. Just two days later is National Trails Day and the start of National Fishing and Boating Week. As that week wraps up, Great Outdoors Week begins with its action-packed agenda of activities in the Nation’s Capital. And action will continue right to the end of the month with National Clean Beaches Week commencing on June 29!

Iowa Sportsmen Are Using the Internet to Lease Farm Land for Outdoor Recreation

Farmland owners in Iowa have discovered a new source of income: they are leasing their land to hunters, anglers and other recreationists in increasing numbers because of the rapidly rising price of recreational land and the lack of public hunting areas, reports the DesMoines Register.

Farm management services, including Omaha-based Farmers National Company and Nevada, Iowa-based Hertz Farm Management, are offering the service to landowners. Farmers National says about 23,000 hunters and anglers are using its Internet-based auction service, Hunting Lease Network, to connect with landowners.

To read more, click here.

Petri Receives 2006 Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award

Washington, D.C. - The American Recreation Coalition’s (ARC) Chairman and the President and CEO of The Coleman Company will present the 18th annual Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award – the recreation community’s most prestigious award – to Thomas E. Petri, Member of Congress and Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Highways, Transit and Pipelines. The award will be presented on June 13 as a featured event of Great Outdoors Week 2006.

To read to entire News Release, click here.

Great Outdoors Week 2006:Meeting Americans' Needs 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, the unveiling of the internet-based Toolbox for the Great Outdoors, Second Edition and more are topics to be addressed in a series of forums throughout the week. Annual awards recognizing the special contributions of many outdoor recreation heroes are a highlight of the week’s events.

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.

High-Tech Bicycle Rental System a Hit in France

The city of Lyon, France has been offering bicycles for travel within the city limits for several months, and the program has proved enormously successful. Residents can access the bicycles at one of almost 200 stations throughout the city, and the bicycles are released by the swipe of a bank card. The bikes are free for the first half hour and less than one euro after that. Since most cyclists leave their bikes in a station at their destination and then re-swipe for the return trip, the service is in effect free for about 90 percent of the Lyonnais.

A similar bike system in Vienna, Austria inspired outdoor advertising company JC Decaux and the Lyon government to team up to provide the bikes. The bikes themselves "intelligently" self-check their brakes, tire pressure, and other functions after every ride. Problems are reported to a central location. Several other French cities have expressed an interest in launching similar programs. To access the program’s website, click here. A warning: it’s in French!

Senate Committee Holds Confirmation Hearing on Interior Secretary Nominee

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee met for almost four hours on May 4 to receive statements and testimony and to question Governor Dirk Kempthorne, the president's nominee for Secretary of the Department of the Interior. A letter of support signed by 40 governors was received by the committee. In opening statements, many committee members mentioned Gov. Kempthorne’s skill as a consensus builder, problem solver, leader and steward of public land. He was noted to be “a respected national authority on resource issues.” The committee will vote on the nomination on Wednesday, May 10th. It is apparent that the confirmation of Governor Kempthorne’s nomination is likely.