National Recreation Policy Act Draft Letter to the President

Draft Letter to the President

The President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Bush:

The recreation community sends its congratulations and its best wishes as you prepare to begin your second term leading our nation. The undersigned organizations, representing millions of Americans and a large portion of the $250 billion per annum outdoor recreation industry, offer our counsel and active support in adding to the health and happiness of the American people and the careful management of this nation’s wonderful Great Outdoors.

The recreation community recognizes and appreciates the significant recreation advances which have taken place during the first four years of your Administration. These include:

  • the reestablishment of Take Pride in America and the encouragement of volunteerism;

  • enactment of new fee legislation which assures local retention of collected fees and provides other positive provisions;

  • new cooperation initiatives in conservation;

  • Recreation One Stop, which enhances the public’s ability to find special opportunities for recreation on public lands;

  • an executive order which directs federal land managing agencies to increase efforts to provide the public with opportunities for physical activities on public lands to combat obesity;

  • the first declaration of Great Outdoors Month in 2004, highlighting the contributions of recreation to health and happiness, education and the economy;

  • steps to protect and enhance recreational access to public lands; and

  • attention to deferred maintenance at recreation sites in the national park system.

Yet budget constraints have had a significant impact on recreation over the past four years. This has severely curtailed traditional means to enhance and expand recreation capabilities – significant increases in appropriated funding. The next four years seem likely to present similar obstacles to significant appropriations increases. This condition strongly argues for innovative approaches.

Moreover, recreation efforts at the federal level have not undergone a recent review to insure that they are strategic, applying priority to recreation programs providing the most benefit to the nation and most effectively leveraging available resources, including land and water, the federal workforce and available funding.

The undersigned organizations therefore offer two recommendations to you, to those in your Administration whose actions shape recreation opportunities and to the Congress. The first is enactment of a National Recreation Policy Act. The second is the development of a new National Recreation Strategy. Details on these recommendations and discussion of some of the issues which we believe must be considered in the development of the Strategy follow.

Thank you for your past and continuing interest in enhancing opportunities of outdoor recreation for all Americans.


[list signatories]