ARC Tells Congress Recreation Community Is Concerned About and Responding to Global Climate Issue

Washington, D.C. (May 24, 2007) - “The recreation community has been a solid and active proponent of environmental protection for decades,” American Recreation Coalition (ARC) President Derrick Crandall told the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works today, “and . . . the recreation industry seeks to be a vital part of public policy discussions and action on global climate change.”

“Can, should and is the recreation community taking actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions linked to recreation? The answer to all three questions is YES. And we feel that together, government, industry and individuals can achieve important goals that are good for the environment – and make economic sense, too,” Crandall added.

He described actions underway at recreation sites, including exemplary actions by national park concessioners. He told the Senate body, though, that technical assistance efforts by the federal government could help speed and improve these efforts.

Transportation-related actions are also important, according to Crandall. Yet he cautioned against actions that could either hamper the ability to travel to sites like national parks that contribute significantly to mental and physical health, rural economies and a sense of unity in the nation. “We call upon the Congress to insure that actions to respond to global climate concerns do not serve to imprison Americans indoors,” Crandall said.

In his testimony, the ARC President outlined efforts that could both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and continue and expand access to the outdoors, including new public transit alternatives, a network of places to leave recreation items like RVs and boats near recreation sites, and thus reduce towing and hauling, and an active effort to assist all motorists maintain proper inflation of tires. He noted that free and accurate sources of air are less available today, and called for changes.

ARC praised the committee for its role in supporting recreation opportunities in America, noting its special role in the creation of the National Scenic Byways Program and the Recreational Trails Program. Crandall noted that byways travelers also contribute to reductions in greenhouse gases because travel speeds on byways typically correspond with peak motor vehicle efficiency.

Crandall closed his testimony by noting that “a reasonably fuel-efficient SUV – or even a large motorhome – gets more passenger miles per gallon when occupied by a family than does even the most fuel efficient car available today when occupied solely by a driver.”

Five U.S. Senators actively participated in the hearing, including the committee chairman, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). The Senators’ opening comments included enthusiastic support for recreation’s contributions to the national and local economies, to families, to health and to the nation’s environmental ethic. In her opening statement, Chairman Boxer said, “Outdoor recreation is one of life’s great blessings. It also is an important economic engine for the United States. We all cherish the ability to spend time outside visiting our parks and forests, our oceans and beaches and our mountain landscapes. Some of us like to play golf, some of us like to swim and fish, and some of us like to ski and use snowmobiles. Many of us enjoy touring our national parks and relaxing beside our beautiful coastlines. These activities sustain us and our culture and they contribute immensely to our overall well being and culture. They also contribute a great deal to our national economy.”

The American Recreation Coalition is the national voice of recreation, representing more than 100 organizations actively involved in outdoor issues. For opening statements, all testimony and a video of the hearing, see the Senate committee website by clicking here.