The nation’s 50 governors united in proclaiming June as Great Outdoors Month once again in 2013, showing that fun outdoors successfully bridges the nation’s political and regional divisions. According to a press release from the American Recreation Coalition (ARC), this was the third time every governor in the nation took action for Great Outdoors Month.
In many states, this was the seventh annual proclamation. The governor of the Virgin Islands and the mayor of the District Columbia also issued proclamations.
The proclamations were each unique but shared key themes, including applauding the health and economic benefits of the Great Outdoors. What was new in 2013 was the outpouring of support from governors for key events taking place during June.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D-W.V.) noted, “Great Outdoors Month includes diverse events designed to connect all of us to the outdoors, especially our children and youth.” Indeed, over a dozen governors from states as diverse as Idaho and Louisiana and Connecticut specifically applauded the American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day, National Fishing and Boating Week coordinated by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, Welcome to the Water on National Marina Day organized by the Association of Marina Industries, National Get Outdoors Day organized by the American Recreation Coalition and the U.S. Forest Service, and the National Wildlife Federation’sGreat American Backyard Campout.
Each of the special June events cited in many of the proclamations seeks to create enduring connections between Americans, and especially those from urban areas, and public lands and waters which cover nearly one-third of the nation’s surface. Together, the June celebrations involve thousands of local events and millions of participants. The events draw together a coalition of local and national nonprofit organizations, businesses, government agencies involved with parks, health and conservation, and volunteers.
Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) noted the power of united action saying, “Great Outdoors Month allows us to celebrate the partnership of federal, state and local agencies, the recreation and tourism industries, and the people of New Jersey, which help make many diverse outdoor recreation opportunities available throughout the Garden State.”
Copies of the proclamations can be viewed and downloaded at www.funoutdoors.com.