News Releases

Exciting Plans for Great Outdoors Week and Great Outdoors Month 2010

Washington, D.C. – Excitement is growing across the nation about plans for Great Outdoors Week and Great Outdoors Month 2010. Great Outdoors Month celebrates a variety of important events and actions that occur during June, and highlights the benefits of active fun outdoors and our magnificent shared resources of forests, parks, refuges and other public lands and waters. Great Outdoors Week (June 7-12) showcases efforts enhancing outdoor recreation for all Americans in the 21st century through awards, briefings and other events in the Nation’s Capital.

Great Outdoors Week is coordinated by the American Recreation Coalition (ARC) and includes events co-hosted by more than a dozen federal agencies and national organizations. Great Outdoors Week's action-packed schedule will feature a special presentation of the Beacon Awards – honoring innovative uses of technology in public lands management – at the Patuxent Wildlife Refuge, an ice cream social with “celebrity scoopers” from the public land management agencies followed by a walk on the National Mall, a presentation of the Legends Awards honoring outstanding public land management employees, the Recreational Trails Program award ceremony and briefing, a Recreation Exchange Luncheon, and a youth fishing event on the National Mall.

Great Outdoors Month, National Get Outdoors Day Gain Exciting New Partner in National Marina Day

Washington, D.C. – Americans celebrating Great Outdoors Month in June 2010 will have another exciting event to enjoy – National Marina Day. The Association of Marina Industries has announced that it will move its annual event to the second Saturday in June and take advantage of the strategic partnership offered by becoming part of Great Outdoors Month, which is coordinated by the American Recreation Coalition. Last year, President Obama and 46 state governors joined in issuing proclamations for Great Outdoors Month and convening various related activities, and that number is expected to grow further in 2010. National Marina Day will now help mark the start of the peak boating season and showcase summer-long opportunities for water fun, even for non-boat owners.

The new date for National Marina Day also will coincide with the third annual National Get Outdoors Day event on June 12. Begun in 2001 and observed until 2010 in August, National Marina Day celebrates and promotes recreational boating and the marina industry by inviting elected officials, civic leaders and the public to marinas across the nation for a day of fun and learning. Marina visitors see firsthand the important role marinas play as family-friendly gateways to boating and water fun and learn about the commitment of marina personnel to being stewards of the environment. These efforts are perfect components for the growing National Get Outdoors Day, which invites all visitors to public lands – and especially first-timers – to take advantage of the fun and healthy activities that public lands have to offer.

Rex Maughan

Rex Maughan of Forever Resorts, Recipient of the 2009 Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award

Rex Maughan of Forever Resorts to Receive 2009 Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award

Washington, D.C. – Rex Maughan, Chairman, President, and Director of Forever Living Products International, Inc. and its affiliate, Forever Resorts, has been chosen to receive the 21st Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award, the recreation community's most prestigious award. The award is presented annually to an individual whose personal efforts have contributed substantially to enhancing outdoor experiences across America.

Mr. Maughan is one of the recreation community’s most dynamic and influential leaders, and he has long played an active role in building public/private partnerships, fostering environmentally responsible development, connecting children to the outdoors and encouraging healthy outdoor activity. “Rex Maughan is a visionary leader for the recreation and concessions industries. His companies lead the way for others, showing how business should be done to enhance recreation experiences for generations to come,” said Derrick Crandall, American Recreation Coalition (ARC) President, as he announced the award.

America’s First Family Heads to Two National Parks This Weekend

America’s First Family is headed to two national parks this weekend. And while they will bring along a small army of security and communications staffers, they will enjoy experiences remarkably similar to those enjoyed by millions of other American families who will visit one of the nearly 400 national park units this year.

The Obama family plans to visit both Yellowstone National Park – the nation’s first park – and Grand Canyon National Park to do some hiking, biking and gazing at natural vistas and wildlife. Their visit will coincide with the third and final weekend of the summer when fees will be waived by the National Park Service, thanks to action earlier this summer by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, who is expected to accompany the First Family. However, it seems likely that the President planned to visit parks this summer regardless of the fee waiver. In remarks this spring at the U.S. Department of the Interior, the President recalled his family travels to parks across the nation at age 11 and told the audience that he wanted his daughters – and every American son and daughter – to have the experience of seeing our parks.

GO-Day 2009

To combat the threats posed by today’s indoor, inactive lifestyles – such as the growing obesity epidemic and the projection that today’s kids will live shorter lives than their parents due to lifestyle choices – several hundred local, state and federal agencies, diverse nonprofit organizations in the health and youth-services fields, the recreation community and media interests teamed up to host the second annual National Get Outdoors Day (GO-Day) on June 13, 2009. The national effort was again led by the U.S. Forest Service (FS) and the American Recreation Coalition (ARC), but the number and diversity of the organizations involved nationally and locally increased sharply. Uniting these partners was a shared belief in the Mission of National Get Outdoors Day:

Unify public and private-sector interests in efforts to influence American lifestyles, especially among youth, in ways that maximize the physical, mental and other benefits derived from activities in the Great Outdoors through a focused effort to invite Americans to designated sites on a single day, as well as to highlight and assist the efforts of National Get Outdoors Day partners year-round.

GO-Day 2009 was built around offering opportunities for American families to experience traditional and non-traditional types of outdoor activities, regardless of past experience, skills or ownership of equipment. Those Americans currently underserved by visits to public lands and waters and youth – especially urban youth – were priority targets for the events. GO-Day organizers accepted a challenge: making the appeal of the great outdoors equal that of shopping malls and video games. And they met this challenge with exceptional results.

ARC Salutes 2009 Legends Award Winners

Washington, D.C. — The American Recreation Coalition (ARC) presented its 2009 Legends Awards to seven federal managers in recognition of their outstanding work to improve outdoor recreation experiences and opportunities for the American people. The awards were presented on June 9, 2009 during Great Outdoors Week – ARC’s celebration of the value and importance of outdoor recreation. Initiated by ARC in 1991, the Legends Award program involves seven federal agencies: Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Federal Highway Administration, National Park Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service. Each agency nominates an individual whose extraordinary personal efforts have made a real difference in enhancing outdoor recreation programs and resources.

Recipients of the 2009 Legends Awards are: James Jennings, Bureau of Land Management; Jay Leasure, Bureau of Reclamation; Dan Johnson, Federal Highway Administration; Christopher K. Jarvi, National Park Service; Miles Johnson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Kelly Blackledge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and Laurie A. Thorpe, U.S. Forest Service.

American Recreation Coalition Announces 2009 Beacon Award Winners

Washington, D.C. - The 2009 recipients of ARC’s Beacon Awards, which recognize outstanding efforts by federal agencies and partners in harnessing the power of technology to improve public recreation experiences and federal recreation program management, were honored during Great Outdoors Week on Monday, June 8. Winners of the 2009 Beacon Awards are:

Great Smoky Mountains National Park and its nonprofit partner, the Great Smoky Mountains Association, for innovation in the use of technology for visitor services and education related to the planning, promotion, and implementation of the 75th anniversary of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In addition to a robust new website with a great deal of information on the park's history and features, the partners used the information to develop themed sales items that related to the anniversary and developed an innovative partnership with other organizations in the area, including Dollywood, for displays and sales of the items.

President Obama Proclaims June as Great Outdoors Month, Governors Join In

June has been officially designated Great Outdoors Month by President Barack Obama and nearly all of America’s governors. The proclamations were suggested by a coalition of dozens of recreation and conservation organizations, many of which coordinate special events held during June, including National Trails Day®, National Fishing and Boating Week, National Get Outdoors Day and the Great American Backyard Campout.

President Obama’s proclamation states, “The United States is blessed with unparalleled natural beauty. From remote forests to urban parks, these spaces have inspired visitors for generations.” It goes on to say, “Exploring the great outdoors can also help improve one's health. These spaces provide countless venues for walking, hiking, running, swimming, and boating, among other activities. Americans can combine the enjoyment of being outside with the exercise we all need to stay healthy.”

National Get Outdoors Day 2009 Plans Announced

Washington, D.C. (January 15, 2009) A consortium of federal agencies and nonprofit organizations and the recreation industry today announced details for National Get Outdoors Day 2009, an annual event to encourage healthy, active outdoor fun across the nation. On June 13, 2009, participating organizations will offer sites for American families to sample both traditional and new 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, and then invite those taking part in the day to visit specific sites for fun “EChO-Events” for opportunities to hike with rangers, learn to fish, and go mountain biking.

In June 2008, more than 60 National Get Outdoors Day events were held, drawing tens of thousands of youth and their families. The events included climbing walls, chances to have pictures taken with Smokey Bear, introductions to fishing and new activities like geocaching and much more.