News

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.

Items of Interest

February 21, 2006 - From the Wall Street Journal:
"In South Africa, Insurer Gives Points for Healthy Living"
Click Here

February 13, 2006 - From the Los Angeles Times:
"Fishing's Lure Lost on Young"
Click Here

January 31, 2006 - From the Ventura County Star:
"Volunteeer Bike Crew Hoping to Expand"
Click Here

President's FY 2007 Budget Reduces Recreation Spending

ARC offers this initial overview of the President’s FY 2007 Budget. We will update the website with additional details and clarifications as our understanding increases.

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

(Washington, D.C.) - Secretary Gail Norton emphasized three areas of strategic focus for the FY 2007 Department of the Interior budget released February 6th at a press briefing: collaborative approaches and partnerships, facilitating energy production and continuing Indian trust reform. She stressed that the theme of working with partners appears throughout the budget, and that the Cooperative Conservation program which leverages non-federal investments in stewardship, will receive a boost under this budget request. The second strategic focus is implementing the Energy Policy Act of 2005 Act through increased exploration, development and leasing of diverse energy resources, both on federal lands and in deepwater areas of the Gulf of Mexico. Action by Congress to open the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration and development, and an initial ANWR lease sale in 2008, are assumptions of the budget. Overall, the current appropriations request of $10.5 billion represents a decrease of $321.9 million or 2.9% below the FY 2006 enacted level, excluding hurricane funding. Permanent funding sources will add an additional $5.6 billion, for a total Interior budget of $16.1 billion.

The overall DOI budget includes $1.2 billion to support recreation goals, including improving access to recreation opportunities. Program reductions of interest to the recreation community include no funding for LWCF Fund State grants, a $29.7 million reduction from FY 2006 levels. According to Secretary Norton, budget request reductions are targeted at programs identified as “less central to Interior’s core mission”, programs that are duplicative, or those, like the LWCF State Grant program, which are deemed more appropriate for state and local funding. The federal side of the LWCF survived, but is reduced to $91 million in the FY 2007 budget request. The Urban Park and Recreation Recovery Program remains unfunded for a third year. What follows is a summary by agency of budget items of interest to the recreation community.

ARC Recommends...News and Articles of Interest to Recreation Leaders

Outdoors columnist and would-be athlete Tom Wharton, writing in the The Salt Lake Tribune, challenged the outdoor gear industry, whose semi-annual trade show opens in Salt Lake this week, with the observation that “the message manufacturers too often send through advertisements and gear is that only the young, fit and healthy are worthy.” To read this article, click here .

John Merline, writing this week for TCS Daily, notes that spending on recreation has climbed at about the same rate as health care costs over the last 20 years – 386%. As the nation grows richer, he argues, “it has ramped up spending in several areas, including health care, that improve quality of life.” To read more, click here.