Secretary Gale Norton Wins Sheldon Coleman Award

Secretary of the Interior Wins
Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award

Washington, D.C. - The American Recreation Coalition (ARC) will present the sixteenth annual Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award – the recreation community’s most prestigious award – to Gale A. Norton, Secretary of the Interior. The award will be presented on June 8, 2004 as part of the celebration of Great Outdoors Week 2004. Every year since 1989, ARC has presented this award to an individual whose personal efforts have contributed substantially to enhancing outdoor experiences in America. The award was established in memory of Sheldon Coleman (1901-1988), longtime Chairman of The Coleman Company and a visionary champion of outdoor recreation and conservation. Winners are selected by a panel of recreation and conservation leaders from both the private and public sectors.

In announcing the award, ARC President Derrick A. Crandall cited a number of Secretary Norton’s accomplishments, starting with her leadership of a revitalized Take Pride in America program. “At the suggestion of the recreation community, Secretary Norton relaunched Take Pride in America,” he said. “She developed a public/private partnership to support this important volunteer stewardship program with innovative new projects, has personally participated in numerous Take Pride events, and has provided the program with the full support of the U.S. Department of the Interior.” Mr. Crandall also pointed to the Secretary’s support for WOW - Wonderful Outdoor World, a camping and environmental-education program for urban children, as another factor in her selection. “Secretary Norton has embraced WOW,” he said, “and taken part in WOW activities in Washington, D.C. and California, including riding in the 2004 Tournament of Roses parade with our WOW kids.” He also added several more reasons for the award, including: Secretary Norton’s support for reform of the recreation fee program to produce quality experiences on public lands; her advocacy of improving the quality and public availability of information on recreation opportunities through the federal government’s “E-gov” initiative; her actions to unify and simplify the federal recreation reservation system; and her championship of the important role to be played by the public lands in improving the health of the American people.

“We are delighted to recognize Gale Norton’s leadership on behalf of outdoor recreation with the Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award,” said Mr. Crandall. “She has earned her place in the ranks of distinguished Americans whose interest in and support for outdoor recreation have provided long-term benefits for millions of Americans.”

The American Recreation Coalition, the national voice for America’s recreation community, is a nonprofit federation of more than 100 organizations representing enthusiasts, private-sector providers of recreation opportunities, and producers of recreation equipment.

(June 2, 2004)