Secretaries Salazar and Vilsack, CEQ Chair Sutley and EPA Administrator Jackson Receive 2011 Coleman Great Outdoors Award

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson have been chosen to receive the 2011 Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award, the recreation community's most prestigious award. The award is presented to individuals whose personal efforts have contributed substantially to enhancing outdoor experiences across America.

The selection of shared recipients for the award, created in 1989, is unprecedented and reflects widespread enthusiasm within the recreation community for the unity and focus the four Cabinet-rank officials of the Obama Administration have provided to national recreation policy through the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative. “These four national leaders have worked to stimulate broad and open public debate, to collect best practices, to explore new ideas, including the linkage between health and the Great Outdoors, and to relate America’s Great Outdoors to 21st century lifestyles and issues,” said Derrick Crandall, President of the American Recreation Coalition. “The report to the President that they prepared has already brought about changes and creates the framework for continuing the tradition of global conservation leadership this nation has provided and enriching the precious legacy all Americans share in our parks, forests, refuges and other public lands and waters.”

The 2011 Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award recipients are:

The Honorable Ken Salazar, Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior
Secretary Salazar has provided strong and strategic leadership to the nation as the leading steward of public lands and waters. He has assembled a wonderful team of experienced agency leaders and championed parks and other public lands as a focus for investment and economic recovery under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. He has been the nation's most powerful voice for connecting youth to the outdoors and supporting new efforts to move from words to action. He was the prime catalyst for and continues today as the chief cheerleader for the America's Great Outdoors (AGO) Initiative, including efforts to unify conservation and recreation interests and the nation's governors around the AGO vision.

The Honorable Nancy Sutley, Chair, Council on Environmental Quality
Chair Sutley has provided active overall coordination of the America's Great Outdoors Initiative, uniting the efforts of federal entities traditionally involved with the Great Outdoors with the resources and capabilities of new partners including the Departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Commerce. Her call at the inception of the AGO process for a focus on urban parks has become a core part of the AGO vision. She led the development of the February 2011 report to the President, which successfully reflected the passion and the ideas of tens of thousands of Americans who participated in AGO through the internet and at more than 50 sessions across the United States.

The Honorable Tom Vilsack, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Secretary Vilsack has served the nation in many roles at the local, state and national levels and has championed private/public cooperation in conservation throughout his distinguished career. In his current post, he has been a champion for viability of rural communities, including those communities proximate to national forests and other public lands and waters. He has stressed the economic power of recreation and conservation, and the capability of this power to lead to sustainable conservation efforts. He has championed a new and unified national commitment to conservation and overcome barriers to cooperation within his department and across the conservation community. His commitment to wise management of our national forests – hosts to diverse recreational activities benefitting not only our economy but the mental, physical and spiritual health of Americans – is deeply appreciated by the recreation community. And he has been personally and actively involved in promoting healthy lifestyles, combining nutrition with healthy physical activity.

The Honorable Lisa Jackson, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Administrator Jackson has brought passion and perspective to the AGO Initiative, urging outreach to those millions of Americans who rarely derive direct benefits from time in the Great Outdoors. She has added a mother's insight to our struggle to help America's youth make active outdoor lifestyles a part of their lives, sharing efforts to overcome the lure of electronic games and connections through the use of family trips to ski areas. She has called on us to be willing to adjust our management of the Great Outdoors to respond to changing interests and technologies. She told us about teens’ decisions to snowboard, not ski – and about the joy she felt when her son remarked that an active day shared on the slopes was one of the best days of his life. She has noted that EPA's mission to protect our air and water is vital to the Great Outdoors and the activities taking place in our parks and forests, and has pledged renewed efforts to convert urban brownfields into valued green spaces, available to grow a new generation of environmental stewards.

The Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Awards will be presented during Great Outdoors Week in Washington, D.C. The award was established in honor of Sheldon Coleman (1901-1988), longtime Chairman of The Coleman Company and a visionary champion of outdoor recreation and conservation. Past recipients include former President George H. W. Bush, National Geographic Society Chairman Gil Grosvenor, then-U.S. Senators John Breaux, Frank Murkowski and John Chafee, then-U.S. Representatives Jim Oberstar and Ralph Regula and U.S. Representative Tom Petri, former Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort Chairman and CEO Dick Bass, and former Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne.