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.

Great Outdoors Week will include a “National Recreation Issues Update” and a Recreation Policy Forum on “21st Century Models for Partnerships in the Great Outdoors” hosted by ARC, ReserveAmerica and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Plans also include a briefing by NPS Director Fran Mainella on National Park Service response to advisory board recommendations regarding the agency’s role in increasing the public’s physical activity through recreation. ARC’s June Recreation Exchange will feature Dale Hall, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Dale Bosworth, Chief of the Forest Service (invited), speaking about current and future recreation priorities. A special focus of Great Outdoors Week this year will be on “Byways 2021” an initiative which celebrates the National Scenic Byways program’s fifteen years of accomplishment and seeks to create a blueprint for the future of America’s byways.

For the third year, the Washington-focused Great Outdoors Week will be a key component of Great Outdoors Month. First proclaimed by President George W. Bush in 2004, Great Outdoors Month – June – includes a long list of recreation community events and meetings, including National Trails Day and National Fishing and Boating Week. Full details on the month will be available at www.greatoutdoorsmonth.org.

Additional details on Great Outdoors Week 2006, including opportunities to be part of the excitement, will be posted on www.funoutdoors.com, ARC's website, as they become available.