U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson have been chosen to receive the 2011 Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award, the recreation community’s most prestigious award.
The award is presented to individuals whose personal efforts have contributed substantially to enhancing outdoor experiences across America, according to a press release.
The selection of shared recipients for the award, created in 1989, is unprecedented and reflects widespread enthusiasm within the recreation community for the unity and focus the four cabinet-rank officials of the Obama administration have provided to national recreation policy through the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative.
“These four national leaders have worked to stimulate broad and open public debate, to collect best practices, to explore new ideas, including the linkage between health and the Great Outdoors, and to relate America’s Great Outdoors to 21st century lifestyles and issues,” said Derrick Crandall, president of the American Recreation Coalition (ARC). “The report to the president that they prepared has already brought about changes and creates the framework for continuing the tradition of global conservation leadership this nation has provided and enriching the precious legacy all Americans share in our parks, forests, refuges and other public lands and waters.”
In other ARC news, six federal programs and efforts were named recipients of the 2011 Beacon Awards, which recognize outstanding efforts by federal agencies and partners in harnessing the power of technology to improve public recreation experiences and federal recreation program management.
The 2011 recipients of ARC’s Beacon Award were honored Monday (June 13) during Great Outdoors Week at a ceremony on the Patio of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Whitten Building. Honorees are:
• Lake Okeechobee Visitor Center Rehabilitation Project, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers nomination.
• Cleveland and Angeles National Forests Apply Robert Bateman’s “Get to Know Your Wild Neighbors Program,” a U.S. Forest Service nomination.
• Web Enhancements of Delivering USFS Recreation, a U.S. Forest Service nomination.
• “Journals & JPGs: Seasons on the (National Elk) Refuge” and “Refuge Connections,” a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service nomination.
• Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge Visitor Enjoyment Initiative, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service nomination.
• Youth Ambassador Program (YAP!) at New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, a National Park Service nomination.