Recreation Leaders Urge Enactment of NORPA

Contact: Derrick Crandall


Washington, D.C. – America’s recreation community leaders delivered draft legislation to the President and key Congressional leaders designed to continue and enhance quality recreation opportunities across the nation. The legislation highlight’s recreation’s contributions to individual and national health – physical and mental health as well as economic and environmental health.

The legislation was drafted by diverse recreation interests seeking to provide suggestions for action at the start of a new Presidential term and a new Congress. Efforts were coordinated by the American Recreation Coalition (ARC), whose membership includes more than 100 recreation-focused organizations. The legislation has been approved by that organization’s Board of Directors and now has been endorsed by more than 30 associations and companies.

ARC President Derrick Crandall reports that public lands and waters are a key focus of the legislation. “Federally managed lands cover one-third of the nation,” said Crandall, “and host nearly two billion recreation visits annually. These lands are loved by Americans. This legislation emphasizes the value of public lands and water to recreation and calls for a new National Recreation Strategy to allow these areas to produce healthy fun and great memories for generations of Americans to come.”

The letter to the President transmitting the legislation notes important recent progress in protecting recreation opportunities, including addressing the backlog of deferred maintenance in national parks and steps to boost volunteerism on public lands under Take Pride in America. The legislation suggests 14 public policy areas for review and debate under the proposed one-year strategy-development project.

Crandall said the legislation emphasizes the pervasive role federal decisions play in recreation and highlights the often overlooked benefits of recreation activity. “The nation is experiencing a sharp increase in health-care costs linked to decreased physical activity. We know, and America’s medical community knows, that recreation is part of the answer here. Walking, paddling, climbing, biking – virtually all recreation activities can play a big part in meeting the Surgeon General’s recommendations for physical activity. And more and more, recreation is seen as a great tool to address other high-profile societal challenges, from alcohol and drug abuse to youth violence, while providing benefits from education to family cohesiveness.” Recreation’s economic benefits are also substantial, he noted. “Each year, Americans spend more than $250 billion on recreation activities and products,“ said Crandall.

According to ARC, the proposed National Outdoor Recreation Policy Act will build upon the legacy of the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission of the 1960's and the President’s Commission on Americans Outdoors in the 1980's. “Like both of these previous national efforts, the National Recreation Strategy process will forge a blueprint for meeting needs and highlighting opportunities,” Crandall said.

Click here for a summary of the National Outdoor Recreation Policy Act (NORPA)

Click here to see organizations endorsing NORPA

Click here to see the draft legislation.

Click here to see a copy of the letter sent to President Bush.

March 31, 2005