Recreation Groups Meet with NOAA to Discuss Building Awareness, Enjoyment of Sanctuaries

Recreation Groups Meet with NOAA to Discuss Building Awareness, Enjoyment of Sanctuaries

The American Recreation Coalition (ARC) and other leading outdoor recreation groups interested in marine sanctuaries recently held meetings with top officials from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – including Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Director John Armor – to discuss building awareness of, and support for, great recreational opportunities offered by America’s marine sanctuaries.

The first meeting was held August 22 at NOAA headquarters. ARC – as well as representatives from the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatU.S.) and National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) – met with Director Armor and others to discuss the Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable’s recent meeting with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Jr., as well as common goals including maximizing public enjoyment of sanctuaries, using technology to advance enjoyment and protection, and more.

ARC’s Derrick Crandall also addressed the Sanctuary System Business Advisory Council August 30 to discuss leveraging the “sanctuary brand” as well as advancing technology like talking buoys, remote cameras, augmented reality, social media and more to encourage people to get outdoors and into their marine sanctuaries.

Following these meetings, ARC, ASA, BoatU.S. and NMMA agreed to pursue a more focused meeting with NOAA officials in the fall of 2017 focused on four key goals:

  • Undertaking joint sponsorship of a new prize for the use of technology in conjunction with enjoyment of sanctuaries
  • Taking advantage of opportunities to promote sanctuaries at upcoming recreation meetings and events
  • Using recreation publications and social media channels to highlight recreation opportunities on sanctuaries
  • Ensuring the active participation by the recreation community in the development of the National Marine Sanctuary System Strategic Plan (https://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/about/five-year-strategy-draft.html)
  • “The recreation industry is very interested in working with NOAA and others to help build the sanctuary brand through partnerships,” said Crandall. “The sanctuary program can benefit from lessons learned by other systems – from national parks to national forests to national recreational trails. Raising public awareness of the role of sanctuary staff in great visitor experiences is a great starting point.” And the NOAA officials are excited by the discussions. Director Armor said in an email following the meetings, “I really enjoyed our conversations. As you've heard me say many times...we both want the same thing...so our partnership should be natural.”

    To be a part of the next round of discussions, contact ARC or NOAA Marine Sanctuaries External Affairs Coordinator Grace Bottitta-Williamson at 240-533-0674 and grace.bottitta@noaa.gov.