President, Governors Tout Health Benefits of Great Outdoors

President, Governors Tout Economic Benefits of Great Outdoors in Proclamations

This news release is available as a .pdf here.

June 27, 2012 (Washington, D.C.) - The importance of outdoor recreation to mental and physical health is a key theme of actions by the President and most governors in their designations of June 2012 as Great Outdoors Month. Great Outdoors Month proclamations began in the 1990’s and are now traditions, highlighting both the benefits of time outdoors and the range of activities and celebrations underway during the month.

President Obama emphasized the importance of outdoor recreation to health in his proclamation of Great Outdoors Month, saying:

“First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Outside! initiative is encouraging children and families to explore the outdoors and engage in outdoor recreation as part of a healthy, active lifestyle.”

Governors from all parts of the nation and both political parties used Great Outdoors Month proclamations as an opportunity to emphasize the role outdoor recreation plays in the mental and physical health of Americans. Forty-two governors declared that outdoor recreation and the great outdoors are crucial to the well-being of their citizens. Governor Nathan Deal (R-GA) said, “The mission of the Great Outdoors Month focuses on the link between outdoor recreation and improved health for people of all ages and abilities.” Governor Martin O’Malley (D-MD) wrote, “Children who spend frequent time outdoors may enjoy better health, fitness and vitality, improved academic performance and critical thinking skills and decreased rates of physical and emotional illness and obesity.” And Governor Gary Herbert (R-UT) noted, “Recreation is a valuable resource to help educate America’s youth through the message that outdoor recreation is a fun, healthy use of leisure time.”

Governors who cited the role outdoor recreation plays in supporting the health and well-being of Americans are: Robert Bentley (R-AL), Sean Parnell (R-AK), Jan Brewer (R-AZ), Mike Beebe (D-AR), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Jack Markell (D-DE), Rick Scott (R-FL), Nathan Deal (R-GA), Butch Otter (R-ID), Pat Quinn (D-IL), Mitch Daniels (R-IN), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Bobby Jindal (R-LA), Paul LePage (R-ME), Martin O’Malley (D-MD), Deval Patrick (D-MA), Rick Snyder (R-MI), Phil Bryant (R-MS), Jay Nixon (D-MO), Dave Heineman (R-NE), Brian Sandoval (R-NV), John Lynch (D-NH), Chris Christie (R-NJ), Susana Martinez (R-NM), Bev Perdue (D-NC), Jack Dalrymple (R-ND), John Kasich (R-OH), Mary Fallin (R-OK), John Kitzhaber (D-OR), Tom Corbett (R-PA), Lincoln Chafee (I-RI), Nikki Haley (R-SC), Bill Haslam (R-TN), Rick Perry (R-TX), Gary Herbert (R-UT), Bob McDonnell (R-VA), Christine Gregoire (D-WA), Earl Ray Tomblin (D-WV), and Scott Walker (R-WI).

Other themes were also common in the proclamations. Support for conservation efforts is referenced in 37 of the proclamations. The importance of the outdoors for kids and families is mentioned in 22 and volunteerism is praised in 19. Additionally, 15 proclamations cite the significance of outdoor recreation to the economy – and virtually all urge people to go out and enjoy the Great Outdoors!

The Great Outdoors Month proclamations were requested by leading national recreation organizations, many of whom sponsor key recreation-related events and activities during the month. These events include: National Trails Day®, National Fishing and Boating Week, the Great American Backyard Campout, Welcome to the Water on National Marina Day, Great Outdoors Week, and National Get Outdoors Day.

Copies of the proclamations can be viewed and downloaded here.