National Park Service Releases 2016 Centennial Action Plan

Washington, D.C. - The National Park Service (NPS) unveiled A Call to Action today identifying four key themes and 36 actions to ready the agency for its 100th anniversary in 2016. The plan commits the agency to connecting people to parks, strengthening local economies and encouraging organizational innovation within the NPS. The release came on Founder’s Day – August 25 – on the 95th anniversary of the creation of the agency.

The four key themes of A Call to Action are: (1) “Connecting People to Parks”; (2) “Advancing the Education Mission”; (3) “Preserving America’s Special Places”; and (4) “Enhancing Professional and Organizational Excellence.” NPS Director Jon Jarvis outlined the plan and a new emphasis on communications internally and with the agency’s key partners at a national town hall held in the historic Ford’s Theater in downtown Washington, D.C. The town hall was broadcast nationwide to NPS employees and partners. Joining Director Jarvis on stage were the President of the National Park Foundation, Neil Mulholland, and three agency employees: Corita Waters, Outdoor Recreation Planner with the Rivers and Trails Conservation Assistance Program; Lizette Richardson, Chief of Maintenance, Lake Mead National Recreation Area; and Dave Moore, Assistant Regional Director for the Northeast Region.

White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley Speaks at Recreation Exchange

July 20, 2011 (Washington, D.C.) - The Honorable Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), was the special guest at the Great Outdoors Month Recreation Exchange on June 16, 2011 hosted by the American Recreation Coalition in Washington, D.C. Exchanges featuring guests who are influencing recreation public policy in America have been held since 1979.

Ms. Sutley serves as the principal environmental policy adviser to the President of the United States. CEQ coordinates Federal environmental efforts and works closely with agencies and other White House offices in the development of environmental policies and initiatives. CEQ works to balance environmental, economic, and social objectives in pursuit of "productive harmony" between humans and the human environment. Chair Sutley was one of the four Cabinet-rank leaders tapped by President Barack Obama to lead his America's Great Outdoors (AGO) initiative and, in fact, CEQ played a central coordinating role in the planning and conducting of extensive public involvement and the preparation of the report to the President in February 2011. Chair Sutley was named a co-recipient of the 2011 Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award for her leadership efforts on behalf of the AGO.

Top federal agency representatives and recreation community leaders gathered in the South Interior Building auditorium to hear Chair Sutley's remarks on the AGO initiative and for the presentation of ARC's 2011 Legends Awards. Chair Sutley began the discussion by touching on her recent trip to Newark, New Jersey, where she helped open an area urban park. She recounted her experience at the park, remarking that it was a surprise to “feel peace and serenity in a park in [such] a rough area.” The opportunity to enjoy nature must be made available to Americans – eighty percent of whom now live in cities and suburbs. Chair Sutley pointed out that, accordingly, urban parks must be made a priority. If we do not “protect, restore and link these special places” – like the park in Newark – we risk raising a generation of Americans who have no connection to nature, she said.

GO Day is Nationwide Success

Washington, D.C. – The American Recreation Coalition (ARC) and USDA Forest Service-led 2011 National Get Outdoors Day (GO Day) is over, but its accomplishments continue. GO Day received significant electronic and print media coverage leading up to – and since – June 11. Tens of thousands of children across the country enjoyed various outdoor activities last Saturday at GO Day events. Their fun was made possible by hundreds of national and local partners that staffed activity centers and provided other support at approximately 150 sites. The First Lady’s Let’s Move Outside campaign’s blogsite, the Let’s Move blog, carried a synopsis of the day with photos: “The U.S. Forest Service and community partners have been encouraging children and their families across the country to spend time reconnecting with nature, trying new recreation activities and just having some good fun.”

Among the major media “scores” by GO Day were all three major TV stations in Denver. ABC News picked up the story in at least two regions, interviewing GO Day coordinators in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. WAMU 88.5 – an affiliate of National Public Radio – also picked up the story, interviewing ARC President Derrick Crandall about local efforts in Washington, D.C.

June 11, 2011 marked the fourth year that participants from federal agencies, nonprofit organizations and the recreation industry teamed up to encourage healthy, active outdoor fun at sites across the nation. These diverse partners offered opportunities for American families to experience traditional and non-traditional types of outdoor activities. Prime goals of the national celebration included reaching currently underserved populations and first-time visitors to public lands, and reconnecting our youth to the great outdoors. Details on the activities at various GO Day sites are available at: http://www.nationalgetoutdoorsday.org/locations/.

Health and Recreation in the News

Health and Recreation in the News

March 2006

Exercise Shown to Improve Brain Function
(Naperville, IL) - On May 2, Dr. John Ratey, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School will present the newer data from the world of neuroscience that clearly shows how physical exercise has effects on the brain that helps promote learning, regulate mood and improve self-esteem and motivation. The findings about physical activity and brain functioning reflect a growing understanding of the brain's amazing ability to adapt and develop. In addition to the findings about exercise and brain function, Dr. Ratey will also share the potential for brain research to reshape classroom practice to increase student achievement.

American Hiking Society Partners with the CDC