Fall 2015 Newsletter


This newsletter is available in PDF format

In this issue:

ARC to Hold Fall Issues Briefing and Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award Celebration October 14 in Washington, D.C.
Every Kid in a Park Initiative Now Launched
House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands Looks For New and Innovative Ideas To Improve Visitor Experiences
ARC Members and Partners Help Introduce Youth To Fun Outdoors at Capital Campouts
White House South Lawn Campout Ends Great Outdoors Month™ On a High Note
Leaders at Every Level Salute Great Outdoors Month™
Great Outdoors Month 2015 Lures People Outdoors™


Key recreation community leaders serving as issue advocates at an October 14 briefing coordinated by ARC will lead a series of conversations with invited Congressional staffers from both parties with the goal of achieving successful legislative action on key recreation issues during the 114th Congress.

Discussion topics will include:
• Reauthorization of FLREA and the Land & Water Conservation Fund
• Seizing the Centennial Moment with Every Kid in a Park and Find Your Park
• NPS Concessions Reform and Deferred Maintenance Strategy
• Building Volunteerism and Partnerships: 21st Century Service Corps, HOPE Crews and more
• Enhancing Key Recreation and Tourism Programs in Surface Transportation Reauthorization

The Issues Briefing will be followed by the presentation of the 2015 Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award – the recreation community’s most prestigious award – featuring Coleman U.S.A. President Dave Allen. The 2014 Coleman Award was presented to U.S. Representative Sam Farr (D-CA).

The Issues Briefing will be held 9:00am - 4:00pm in Room 2247 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

The Coleman Award Celebration will take place 5:30 - 7:00pm in the South Penthouse of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Main Building.

To download an event summary, registration form and proposed program, visit funoutdoors.com/2015RecForum.

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The White House and partner federal agencies officially launched Every Kid in a Park on September 1. The initiative’s goal is to have every 4th grade student – more than four million kids – visit their public lands and waters for learning and fun throughout the 2015-2016 school year. In addition, each 4th grader is eligible for a one-year pass allowing free access for the 4th graders and accompanying family members and friends.

Fourth graders were selected for a number of reasons:
• Children who interact with nature and natural areas before age 11 are more likely to have positive attitudes toward nature and the environment
• 4th grade is often the last opportunity to capture “one teacher” classrooms
• Federal lands and waters have educational programs that support many 4th grade curricula
• The initiative is compatible with elementary and afterschool programs
• This age bracket reflects the demographic diversity of the nation

A major component of Every Kid in a Park is return visits by 4th graders and their families. ARC members and park concessioners will play a key role in furthering the connection forged through class visits by providing services and activities enjoyable by people of all ages and outdoor experience levels.

Keep up to date at everykidinapark.gov, greatoutdoorsmonth.org and funoutdoors.com.

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The Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a hearing titled New and Innovative Ideas for the Next Century of Our National Parks July 23.

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), chair of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands, opened the hearing with a reference to pending reauthorization of FLREA (Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act) and the potential to expand the bill beyond fees to other tools like the Centennial Challenge and NAFI authority.

ARC President Derrick Crandall testified before the Subcommittee regarding new ideas for the next century of national parks. In his testimony, Mr. Crandall offered ideas for how public/private partnerships can offer world class experiences in national parks by citing Forest Service policy, saying, “Sixty percent of our nation’s downhill skiing activity is provided at world class facilities under agreements between business partners and the Forest Service that extend 40 years or more. All investments are made by the private sector. Similar length terms for park concessions contracts would produce needed investment in our lodges and other structures and open the door to another tool: historic investment tax credits.”

Mr. Crandall’s full testimony and video from the hearing are available here. Additional witnesses included: President and CEO of Silver Eagle Distributors, L.P. John Nau (on behalf of the National Park Foundation); Hot Springs, Arkansas Chamber of Commerce President Jim Fram; and National Parks Conservation Association Senior Vice President Craig Obey.

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ARC members demonstrated their commitment to introducing youth of all experience levels to their great outdoors during many of the Great Outdoors Month™ Capital Campouts.

ARC Sustaining Member and Great Outdoors Month Founding Sponsor The Coleman Company played an integral role in the Capital Campouts, supplying all 13 campouts with tents, chairs, sleeping bags, coolers and more.

Great Outdoors Month Coalition member Bass Pro Shops provided significant support to several Capital Campouts. As an example, they sponsored Missouri’s first-ever Outdoor Days at the Capitol event, introducing more than 5,000 people to active outdoor fun available near them.

ARC Sustaining Member Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association was on hand at the Virginia campout to introduce youth to RVs and the active, outdoor fun they offer.

Great Outdoors Month Coalition member Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation helped introduce youth to fishing opportunities in their outdoors by supplying fishing equipment to numerous Capital Campouts including Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington.

ARC General Member Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council assisted Governor Mike Pence at the Indianapolis campout, introducing youth to recreation opportunities in Indiana.

Several governors took the message of Great Outdoors Month™ even further. Governors Charlie Baker (Massachusetts), Jay Nixon (Missouri) and Matt Mead (Wyoming) each produced a PSA urging their residents to get outdoors and enjoy everything their states have to offer. You can see those PSAs here.

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Great Outdoors Month 2015 began with a Presidential proclamation and concluded as 50 4th grade Girl Scouts pitched tents, tested climbing walls, tied knots, stargazed and more on the South Lawn of the White House – a historic first. First Lady Michelle Obama – Honorary National President of the Girl Scouts of the USA - hosted the campout as part of the Let's Move! Outside campaign and Great Outdoors Month™ on June 30.

The kids were joined later that night by NASA astronaut Cady Coleman and other NASA staff and scientists for stargazing through telescopes. And they got a big thrill when President Obama showed up for some campfire songs! The President and First Lady settled in for some Girl Scouts tunes including “Make New Friends but Keep the Old.”

Thunderstorms eventually forced the scouts inside for the night. Still though, it was an experience none of them will ever forget.

The event was extensively covered by the media, including an exclusive in PEOPLE Magazine that has been shared more than 4,000 times, and an interview on The TODAY Show featuring some of the lucky campers.

The Campout was co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Interior and celebrated the National Park Service Centennial as well as Great Outdoors Month™. June 2015 was proclaimed Great Outdoors Month by the president and all 50 governors. See the proclamations here.

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“During Great Outdoors Month, Governors, communities, business leaders and organizations will host thousands of events across the country to celebrate our unparalleled outdoors. I encourage Americans to participate in these activities and to take the time to experience the natural grandeur of our Nation.” – President Barack Obama

“This weekend and throughout Great Outdoors Month, I encourage all Americans to visit America’s forests and parks and commit to doing what we can ensure they can be preserved and enjoyed by future generations.” – Tom Vilsack, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture

“We are thrilled to host a national fee-free day on Saturday for National Get Outdoors Day. We hope many visitors will be outdoors, active and having fun on national forests and grasslands and other public lands across the country.” – Tom Tidwell, Chief, U.S. Forest Service

“June is Great Outdoors Month. There is no better time to grab a fishing buddy or family member, hit the trail and enjoy nature. It benefits us all!” – U.S. Representative Tim Walz (D-MN), Chairman, Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus

“Many things have changed in South Dakota since I was a youngster, but the outdoor opportunities remain…To recognize what an abundance of opportunities we have in South Dakota, I recently declared June as ‘Great Outdoors Month.’ It’s a way to encourage each of our citizens to connect or reconnect with nature in a safe and healthy way. It’s a celebration of the fun that’s to be had outdoors here in South Dakota.” – Dennis Daugaard, Governor of South Dakota

“I commend you and the other members of the Great Outdoors Month Partnership for your great work in promoting America’s outstanding parks. I look forward to the Capital Campout becoming an annual event in Virginia. I wish you the best of luck in your efforts to share the importance of outdoor recreation with families nationwide.” – Terry McAuliffe, Governor of Virginia

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Great Outdoors Month™ kicked off early in 2015 when almost 600,000 children, families, teachers and more participated in this year’s Kids to Parks Day, a nationwide day of outdoor play organized by the National Park Trust in cooperation with a host of local and national collaborators. This year’s Kids to Parks Day was held on Saturday, May 16, the week before the official start of summer.

June 6 was the American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day®, the country’s largest celebration of trails. National Trails Day events took place in every state across the country and included hikes, biking and horseback rides, paddling trips, birdwatching, geocaching, gear demonstrations, stewardship projects and more.

The first weekend in June also marked the beginning of National Fishing and Boating Week, coordinated by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation. National Fishing and Boating Week celebrates the importance of recreational boating and fishing in enhancing people's quality of life and preserving our country's natural beauty. Most states offered free fishing days during National Fishing and Boating Week, which are perfect opportunities for beginners to try out fishing for the first time.

The second weekend in June brought two more great events. The eighth annual National Get Outdoors Day took place on June 13. More than 200 events linked hundreds of local, state and federal agencies, diverse nonprofit organizations in the health and youth-service fields, the recreation industry and media interests with tens of thousands of people in 39 states. And National Marina Day encouraged people to get outdoors by highlighting recreation opportunities on the water.

The Corps Network hosted the second annual Great Outdoors Month Day of Service in the Nation’s Capital June 19. The event brought together Corps from across the country, as well as friends and supporters of The Corps Network to listen to welcoming remarks from Corps friends like National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis and to participate in projects on the National Mall, Theodore Roosevelt Island, Dangerfield Island and in Rock Creek Park.

The final weekend of Great Outdoors Month™ wrapped up with two events. The National Wildlife Federation kicked off its annual Great American Campout, with more than 100,000 people pledging to camp out over the course of the summer. And the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) held its very first “Get Into Your Sanctuary” days celebrating marine sanctuaries across the country and the recreation opportunities available in them such as hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, boating, whale watches and more.

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