ARC Fact Sheet

The American Recreation Coalition (ARC) is a Washington-based nonprofit organization formed in 1979. Since its inception, ARC has sought to catalyze public/private partnerships to enhance and protect outdoor recreational opportunities and the resources upon which such experiences are based. ARC organizes and conducts national conferences and meetings and disseminates information regarding recreational needs and initiatives through a variety of means, including a monthly newsletter and its website www.funoutdoors.com. ARC also monitors legislative and regulatory proposals that influence recreation and works with government agencies and the U.S. Congress to study public-policy issues that will shape future recreational opportunities.

For more than 25 years, ARC has been sponsoring Recreation Exchanges in Washington to stimulate dialogue between the recreation community and policy makers who are playing a key role in shaping the future of our nation. Since 1992, ARC has sponsored Partners Outdoors, an extraordinary gathering that brings together recreation community leaders from the private and public sectors for a results-oriented brainstorming and networking session. ARC also holds policy forums designed to encourage open discussion and creative new initiatives on public policies shaping outdoor recreation in America. Forums have examined the lessons learned on recreation fees on public lands, recreation and health opportunities in the outdoors and much more.

From the very early days of the current Administration, ARC has stressed the importance of outdoor recreation to the economic and social well-being of communities and to the physical, mental – and even spiritual – well-being of individuals. ARC also urged a fresh new look at the nation’s recreation needs. In response, the Administration launched the America’s Great Outdoors initiative in 2010 to help shape a conservation and recreation agenda for the 21st century and to reconnect Americans, especially children, with nature. ARC’s suggestions that health and tourism be full partners in the effort have been incorporated into the initiative.

Every year since 1996, ARC has sponsored Great Outdoors Week during June, when leaders of the recreation community gather in Washington to take part in meetings and events designed to: increase the visibility of outdoor recreation on the national policy-making level; heighten the understanding and appreciation of recreation’s importance to the nation’s health, economy and quality of life; provide an opportunity to highlight key recreation policy initiatives and programs; and recognize outstanding leadership on behalf of outdoor recreation. Since 2004, the President of the United States has proclaimed June to be Great Outdoors Month, expanding the opportunities for ARC and the recreation community to focus public attention on the importance of outdoor recreation. In 2013, all 50 of the nation’s governors joined the President in proclaiming June as Great Outdoors Month and National GO (Get Outdoors) Day was celebrated for the sixth year in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and other organizations.

ARC also played the central role in the creation and operation of the President's Commission on Americans Outdoors, which operated from 1985 to 1987. Among the many ARC-inspired recommendations of the Commission were the creation of the National Scenic Byways Program and the Recreational Trails Program, the implementation of greater flexibility for recreation fee programs designed to recover a large portion of costs, and Take Pride in America. With ARC support, there are now 150 nationally designated National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads. The Recreational Trails Program now returns millions of dollars in federal fuel taxes, paid by off-road recreation enthusiasts, to the states for trail development and maintenance projects. The recreation fee demonstration program, an ARC initiative, brought more than $900 million in new funding to federal land-management agencies to enhance visitor facilities and services and resulted in the current fee program, in place until 2015.

ARC was significantly involved in the Take Pride In America (TPIA) campaign in both the program’s original design in 1985 and its relaunch in April 2003. TPIA is a national effort that aims to seek, support and recognize volunteers who work to improve our national parks, wildlife refuges, public lands, cultural and historic sites, playgrounds and other recreation areas.

In 1996, ARC led the effort to establish a National Recreation Lakes Study Commission in order to enhance recreation opportunities at more than 1,700 federally managed, man-made lakes across the country. The Commission completed its report in 1999, which led to the establishment of the Federal Lakes Recreation Leadership Council to coordinate a recreation demonstration program with 31 pilot study lakes.

In 1984, ARC played a key role in amending the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act to create the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund, popularly known as the Wallop-Breaux Fund. Using moneys generated through a 10% excise tax on fishing equipment and a portion of the tax collected on sales of recreational motorboat fuels, Wallop-Breaux funds enhancements in boating and fishing opportunities. In 1998, ARC spearheaded the effort to strengthen that program significantly, assuring more funds for needed boating safety efforts, instituting a new outreach program to help more Americans enjoy leisure time on our public waters, and recovering an additional $135 million in boater fuel taxes for boating and fishing enhancement. In 2005, legislation was enacted which, for the first time, transfers all of the motorfuel taxes paid by recreational boaters to the fund, boosting program funding by approximately $110 million annually.

ARC is now a well established national federation of more than 100 private-sector organizations. Its volunteer leaders run the nation's most prominent recreation companies and recreation-related associations. For more information, visit ARC's Web site: www.funoutdoors.com.

For more information, contact:


American Recreation Coalition
1200 G Street, N.W., Suite 650
Washington, D.C. 20005
202-682-9530; Fax 202-682-9529
cahern@funoutdoors.com
www.funoutdoors.com