Editor’s Note: The following release comes from Derrick Crandall, president of the American Recreation Coalition (ARC).
Last April, President Obama established the America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) initiative at a White House Conference in Washington and charged the secretaries of the departments of the Interior and Agriculture, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and the chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality to develop a 21st century conservation and recreation agenda which would strengthen the connection between Americans and the outdoors.
Over the summer, senior administration officials held 51 listening sessions and received over 105,000 comments, sharing ideas about approaches to protect U.S. lands and waters, connect Americans to the outdoors and to our natural heritage and to empower local communities to protect and restore the places they love. ARC has played an active role in this effort, leading the campaign to highlight the link between health and the outdoors and promoting innovative partnerships.
The report, originally due in November, will be released next week by the President in the East Room of the White House, on Feb. 16. We’ll be there.
The report follows the release of the President’s FY2012 budget proposal. That would indicate that there are some new initiatives included in the AGO report. Hill reception to new spending is likely to be guarded – but we are hopeful that the AGO proposals are based on ways the Great Outdoors can boost regional economies and reduce healthcare costs.