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.

NPS Director's Order #21 Released, Bedwell to Direct Recreation Resources for Forest Service

National Park Service (NPS) Director Fran Mainella on Monday released revised guidance on philanthropy in the National Park System. She announced that Director’s Order #21(DO #21) on Donations and Fundraising has been revised to reflect public comments, enhance partnerships and maintain private sector support for national parks. The Director’s Order was sent out for a 60-day public review period in October 2005. More than 1,000 comments on the draft were received. DO #21 became effective with its release on May 1.

ARC is currently reviewing Director's Order #21 and will share our analysis. We urge our members to read the document as well. For a copy of DO #21 in PDF format, click here. The revised Director’s Order and Reference Guide are also posted to

Gadgets for the Great Outdoors

Spring has come, and with it thoughts of the great outdoors. You're probably thinking, isn't the point of getting back to Mother Nature getting away from the trappings of technology? Not necessarily so. The right gadget can help enhance your commune with nature, whether it is a picnic in the park or a long hike in the woods.

Source: PC Magazine

To read this article, click here.

White-Water Rafting -- In the City

This summer the first man-made rafting park in the U.S. opens outside Charlotte, N.C. Are more urban parks on the way?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FORTUNE Small Business) - Coming soon to a metropolis near you: Class IV rapids. Jeff Wise, a former software entrepreneur, is helping develop the first white-water park in the U.S., on a 307-acre plot outside Charlotte. The nonprofit park opens in June and will host world-class competitions, though Wise wants weekend warriors to show up too.

NPS Regional Director Blaszak Addresses Stagnant National Park Visitor Numbers

Marcia Blaszak, Alaska Regional Director of the National Park Service, addressed an oversight hearing of the House Resources Committee's National Parks Subcommittee on April 6. The topic was “Visitation Trends in the National Park System”. A panel including leading travel industry representatives also addressed the subcommittee.

To read Ms. Blaszak's statement, the opening statements of Subcommittee Chairman Steve Pearce (R-NM) and Ranking Member Donna Christensen (D-VI), as well as the statements of travel industry panelists including John Schoppmann, Executive Vice President of Forever Resorts, click here.

The following is an excerpt from Ms. Blaszak's remarks:

National Park Service Review of Personal Watercraft Use to be Expedited

WASHINGTON DC – The National Park Service was directed to expedite the process to review the use of personal watercraft in several National Parks at a March 15th hearing held by the U.S. House of Representatives Government Reform Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs.

Economist Laura Baughman, president of the Trade Partnership, an economic consulting firm, testified at the hearing regarding an economic impact study her firm recently completed for the personal watercraft industry about the cost of the bans in national parks. Ms. Baughman calculates the economic loss at $587 million annually.

The American Camper: Profiles and Perspectives

(Falls Church, VA)- The American Camper: Profiles and Perspectives, a research project of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), explores the unique lifestyles and leisure travel preferences/intentions of active campers and RV owners. The study's results are based on a sample of 1602 adults who have taken one or more overnight trips in which they stayed in a campground or RV park/resort in the past two years.

What is the demographic profile of these folks? What do they contribute to the economy? Will gas prices affect their trip planning? To read a summary of the important findings of this study, click here.

'Adventure Therapy' Effective in Maintaining Weight-loss in Older Teens

(Providence, RI) - Outward Bound based therapy may work better than aerobics for maintaining weight-loss in older teens. A new study suggests that weight-loss programs that encourage peer-support, and focus on building confidence through challenges are effective in helping some adolescents lose weight. This is the finding of a research paper appearing in the January 2005 issue of the International Journal of Obesity by researchers at the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center (BHCRC) and The Miriam Hospital.

"Since weight gain in adolescence has been associated with a number of health problems in adulthood, we wanted to find a program that could offer teens an effective weight-loss strategy," says lead author Elissa Jelalian, PhD, a child psychologist with the BHCRC and Brown Medical School.