U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Begins Wildlife Enthusiast Survey

(Washington, DC) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is asking hunters, anglers and other wildlife enthusiasts for their participation in the 11th National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation. The survey begins March 27, with the first calls to 85,000 households. Individuals who choose to participate will be asked about their participation and expenditures in several categories of wildlife-associated recreation.

Results from this survey will be published beginning in 2007 in a national report and in 50 individual state reports. The 2001 survey revealed 82 million Americans enjoyed some form of wildlife-related recreation and spent more than $108 billion pursuing their activities.

RTP Champion Petri Receives Awards from Snowmobilers

On March 18, 2006, the American Council of Snowmobile Associations (ACSA) and Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs (AWSC) honored U.S. Representative Tom Petri (R - WI), for his longstanding support for the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) and for the leading role he played in the RTP’s successful reauthorization in 2005. To read more, click here.

ARC Salutes Secretary Norton's Many Contributions to Outdoor Recreation

(Washington, D.C.) - Gale A. Norton tendered her resignation to President Bush on March 10, 2006 after five years of service to the nation as Secretary of the Interior. In response, American Recreation Coalition President Derrick Crandall issued a statement commenting on Secretary Norton's involvement with the recreation community. To read this statement, click here.

Bikes Donated in Honor of Deputy Secretary of Interior's Visit to Santa Monica Mountains

Woody Smeck, Superintendent of the Sanata Monica Mountains NRA recently accepted a donation of two Giant Reign 3 mountain bicycles from Giant USA. The bikes will become a very visible part of resource protection patrols and visitor education programs in the Santa Monica Mountains. The gift was a result of a recent visit to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area by Interior's Deputy Secretary Lynn Scarlett. To read more, click here.

An Update on Proposed U.S. Forest Service Land Sale to Fund Secure Rural Schools Act

Senators Wyden (D-Oregon) and Craig (R-Idaho), who authored the original Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act in 2000, recently released a report written by the Sierra Institute and funded by the Forest Service lauding the success of the Secure Rural Schools Act and proposing that it be continued for an additional seven years. Their bill, S. 267 introduced in 2005, would reauthorize the initial law, which established a six year payment formula for counties that receive revenue sharing payments to compensate for declining timber sales on Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands. The reauthorization legislation conflicts with the Adminstration's proposal to fund the program for an additional five years at a reduced level through land sales by the Forest Service. Senator Craig has said that, though he has concerns, he needs to learn more about the Administration's funding proposal before taking a position.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Mineta Announces $22 Million in Grants for 207 Scenic Byways Projects

(Washington, DC) – Local communities in 42 states will receive more than $22 million in federal grants for 207 projects that improve and promote highways designated as scenic byways, U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta announced on Monday, March 6.

The grants are part of the Federal Highway Administration’s National Scenic Byways Program, which recognizes and enhances selected roads based on their archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational or scenic qualities. The grants will be used for projects such as scenic overlooks, visitor information centers, pedestrian trails, bike paths, safety upgrades, and educational and promotional materials.

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.

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.

ARC Submits Comments on NPS Management Policies

(Washington, D.C.) – On February 17, the American Recreation Coalition submitted comments on proposed revisions to the NPS Management Policies, a document designed to guide decisions throughout the agency. ARC advised the agency that it supports the current review as especially significant because the 2001 version of NPS management policies was developed under Interior leadership that assumed park visitation would increase dramatically and pose serious threats to the parks. In fact, park visits have not grown significantly.

Recreation Exchange Hosts Three Office of Management and Budget Examiners

(Washington, D.C.) - The February 2006 Recreation Exchange featured three key Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff involved in outdoor recreation. Craig Crutchfield, who oversees National Park Service (NPS) issues, Ben Burnett, Budget Examiner for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and Jim Mietus, who works on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) matters, shared insights on OMB’s budget and oversight responsibilities and suggested strategies for recreation program successes in the appropriations process. To read the full report, Click Here.