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.
Excitement is growing across the nation about plans for Great Outdoors Week and Great Outdoors Month starting Saturday (June 1).
According to a news release, Great Outdoors Month celebrates a variety of important events and actions that occur during June, and highlights the benefits of active fun outdoors and our magnificent shared resources of forests, parks, refuges and other public lands and waters. Great Outdoors Week (June 1-8) showcases efforts enhancing outdoor recreation for all Americans in the 21st century through awards, briefings and other events in the Nation’s Capital.
Great Outdoors Week is coordinated by the American Recreation Coalition (ARC) and includes events co-hosted by more than a dozen federal agencies and national organizations:
- Great Outdoors Week’s action-packed schedule begins on Monday with presentation of the Beacon Awards – honoring innovative uses of technology in public lands management to boost visitor experiences and to better manage visits – at the Department of the Interior’s Stewart Udall Building followed by the week’s opening reception – an ice cream social.
- On Tuesday, ARC’s Legends Awards, honoring outstanding public land management employees, will precede the Great Outdoors Week Recreation Exchange Luncheon. That same day, the Recreational Trails Program award ceremony and briefing will be held on Capitol Hill.
- On Wednesday, the Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award will be presented to a leading public figure whose personal efforts have significantly enhanced opportunities for others to enjoy the outdoors and a special program on the National Mall will focus on Healthy Food in Parks and the role of recreation in a happy, healthy nation.
- On Saturday, public and private partners across the nation will team up to help tens of thousands of youth have fun outdoor adventures, typically close by the urban homes of these youth. Federal agencies, state and local park agencies, recreation businesses, healthcare companies and enthusiast groups will host National Get Outdoors Day events at nearly 150 locations and help these youth and their families begin a new chapter of their lives exploring and enjoying the incredible shared legacy of America’s Great Outdoors.
For more information, see www.nationalgetoutdoorsday.org/.
Great Outdoors Month will again highlight important initiatives across the country helping Americans pursue healthier, outdoor lives. These initiatives include National Trails Day (June 1), National Fishing and Boating Week (June 1-9), the Great American Backyard Campout (June 22), National Get Outdoors Day (June 8), and more. Welcome to the Water on National Marina Day will also be celebrated across the nation on June 8.
A large coalition of outdoor recreation leaders has once again asked the President, all 50 governors and other key officials to proclaim June as Great Outdoors Month. The proclamations provide nationwide attention to the economic importance of recreation and the special role of the Great Outdoors in re-establishing the U.S. as a major destination for international visitors. The nation’s health community is also increasingly vocal regarding the benefits of active time in the Great Outdoors as key to better health, better education and support for conservation.
Great Outdoors Month is under way in June with a bevy of state and national proclamations aimed at promoting the annual event.
“The president signed the proclamation of Great Outdoors Month late yesterday. And we have almost all of the parallel proclamations by the nation’s governors,” Derrick Crandall, president of the American Recreation Coalition (ARC), stated in a news release. “We expect to repeat last year’s mark of every governor issuing a proclamation and anticipate that more than half will go beyond that and have a Great Outdoors Month event.”
The state proclamations can be downloaded at http://www.funoutdoors.com/node/view/2713.
“Again this year, a consortium of national associations and organizations active with June events asked for the proclamations to help highlight those events,” he added.
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) signed onto the national event.
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) is bringing new camping customers and new business to the nation’s RV parks and campgrounds with its June campaign, “Get Outdoors & Go Camping America…It’s Easy!” promotion set for June 1 – 25.
The purpose of the campaign is to encourage young families to go camping during the month of June, Great Outdoors Month, using GoCampingAmerica.com (GCA) coupons for discounts on all things camping and to document their camping experience on video for a chance to win a grand prize, according to a news release.
The web promotion page on GoCampingAmerica.com is not active until May 15.
For more information on the campaign and for a peak at the 20% off GCA park stay coupon, visit: www.arvc.org/june.aspx.
ARVC will be using social media, viral video, marketing efforts and media outreach to drive traffic to GoCampingAmerica.com where consumers can download various offers for discounts on camping. ARVC will be offering a 20% off coupon for all GCA/ARVC member parks. In addition, companies like Camping World, Coleman, El Monte RV, etc. are participating by offering discounts as well. Consumers will be able to download these coupons and try out camping, hopefully becoming repeat customers at your park.
The coupon states that it is only valid June 1 – June 25. It also states that it’s only accepted at participating parks and that the consumer must call the park at least 24 hours in advance to make a reservation. The guest may use the coupon for up to a seven-night stay at your park during that time frame, but they can not use the coupon on an existing reservation.
More information will be available on the video contest portion as the campaign gets closer.
Tuesday (June 1) marked the start of a month-long celebration of the value of time in the Great Outdoors.
According to a mailing from the American Recreation Coalition (ARC), which is allied with the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), numerous activities are planned for this month to boost the public’s awareness and appreciation of the outdoors.
President Obama and nearly every governor have already declared the month Great Outdoors Month.
“The proclamations are substantive and highlight the themes we have been pursuing actively for more than a decade,” said Derrick Crandall, ARC president. “They point out that recreation is a key route to a healthier America, and is especially important as a tool to fight childhood obesity and the costs in quality of life and dollars. The proclamations talk about recreation and the economy, and about our Great Outdoors as means to learn about our heritage and about the importance of conservation.”
And the proclamations are just the start. Here is what the month of June will include:
- The First Lady was in Nevada Tuesday and unveiled Let’s Move Outdoors, a new website and a new part of her campaign to fight childhood obesity.
- Also Tuesday, the first of the town hall meetings under the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative was held in Helena, Mont. Announced at a White House conference on April 16, America’s Great Outdoors offers an opportunity to shape a presidential strategy on conservation and recreation by late this year.
- On Friday, June 4, ED OUT will bring nearly 1,000 people to Camp William Snyder in Hayfield, Va., for a day of outdoor learning and fun. This pilot effort, team-led by Prince William County Schools, ARC, the Forest Service and Take Me Fishing, will involve 4th and 7th graders and adjunct faculty drawn from NASA, the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Wildlife Federation and more and will launch a national campaign to get public schools to use nearby parks and public places to improve education during the school year and during summer vacations.
- On Saturday, June 5, National Trails Day will attract hundreds of thousands to volunteer projects along trails on public lands – making these trails more fun for millions.
- Also on Saturday is the start of National Fishing and Boating Week, with events across the nation including free fishing opportunities.
- And Saturday is also one of Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar’s fee-free weekends in national parks and other federal recreation sites!
- On Monday, June 7, nearly a thousand youth will fish on the National Mall in Washington at a popular event coordinated by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – just a block away from Interior’s headquarters and three blocks from the White House.
- Also on Monday, June 7, is the kickoff event for Great Outdoors Week, held this year at the National Wildlife Visitor Center at Patuxent Research Refuge. The center is the largest science and environmental education center of the Department of the Interior. And while at Patuxent, we’ll award the 2010 Beacon Awards, for use of technology to enhance recreational enjoyment of public lands and to manage recreation use.
- On Tuesday, June 8, all kinds of things will be happening in Washington. The Coalition for Recreational Trails will present the 2010 Recreational Trails Program Awards and release a new database of some 20,000 trail projects aided by this program since its inception in 1991. The National Park Foundation and Unilever will present the Harry Yount Ranger of the Year Award. And leading physicians who believe that “park prescriptions” are a great tool get make America healthier will begin a series of meetings with Administration and Congressional leaders.
- Great Outdoors Week events continue later in the week with the 2010 Great Outdoors Week Recreation Exchange featuring Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, presentation of the 2010 Legends Awards, the Great Mall Walk for Health, the Great Outdoors Week Ice Cream Social on the USDA patio with “celebrity scoopers,” and more.
- Saturday, June 12, at some 80 sites across the nation, National Get Outdoors Day will be celebrated – a team effort to reach out to America’s kids and get them excited about adventures in the outdoors. In Denver, and Salt Lake and Washington and more, thousands of kids will ride bikes and paddle canoes and climb artificial walls and go geocaching and birdwatching – in our cities! And they will be invited out to more traditional recreation sites at EChO events later in the summer.
- A big part of National Get Outdoors Day is National Marina Day. At marinas across the country — and especially at a dozen signature sites — marinas will invite families to try out time on boats and enjoy life on the edge of our rivers, lakes and oceans.
- The RVIA and RV community will be celebrating the centennial of recreation vehicles during the month, and especially in events in Indiana during the week of June 7-11.
- Action continues on June 19-20 at the Outdoor Nation Youth Summit in Central Park, New York City, as some 500 delegates gather to champion the outdoors and start a youth-driven outdoors movement.
- And lots more will be happening before the month of June winds down, including the National Wildlife Foundation-led Great American Backyard Campout on backyards and community sites nationwide on June 26.
The idea for Great Outdoors Month is just 20 years old — the result of discussions immediately following the 2nd Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award presentation to then-President George H. W. Bush in 1990.
In response to a request for comments by the federal Task Force on Childhood Obesity regarding ways to stem the epidemic of obesity in American children, Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) President Richard Coon submitted recommendations last month that outline the health benefits of RVing and encourage an increase in RVing among American families.
The full text of Coon’s comments, as published in the current issue of RVIA Today Express, are reprinted below.
“The Task Force goals of encouraging children to eat healthy, affordable food and engage in more physical activity are directly supported by the outdoor recreation and camping experiences enjoyed by recreation vehicle (RV) owners.
In a February 2010 study by Harris Interactive, 81% of RV owners said that children who RV spend less time on sedentary activities like TV and video games. 72% of RV owners also stated that traveling by RV helps families make healthier eating choices during vacations, because they are able to purchase and prepare their own foods, affordably, on the road. 74% of owners surveyed by RVIA in its March 2010 “Campfire Canvass” survey said they are more active on RV vacations than on other types of family vacation.
To meet your objective of increasing physical activity in communities, we encourage the Task Force to recommend that federal, state and local governments take action to promote recreation visits to the nation’s parks. This should include development of policies to ensure that public lands offer access and facilities to RV visitors, thereby facilitating the healthful vacation experiences enjoyed by the nation’s 30 million RVing families.
We further recommend that the Task Force embrace key events like Great Outdoors Month in June and National Get Outdoors Day to encourage healthy activities that will appeal to children throughout their lives — because they are fun. The First Family should be invited to embrace these events and outdoor activities through personal involvement.
Another important action the Task Force can take to help increase physical activity is to put a new focus on recommended steps/activities per day by setting a specific goal, and suggesting activities at all federal recreation sites to achieve this goal. For example, a national park, forest or wildlife refuge – all popular destinations for RV travelers — could list walking trails as fulfilling a certain percentage of daily recommended activities for families.
To meet the objective of empowering parents with information and tools to make good choices for themselves and their families, we encourage the Task Force to coordinate the development of and promote to the public an online public-private sector clearinghouse of healthy lifestyle resources. This should include outdoor recreation and RV camping sites such as GoRVing.com. We further suggest that the Task Force work with RVIA and other RV organizations to encourage RV owners with grandchildren to take them to fun outdoor recreation sites where physical activity is the focus.
To build major public support for the goals of increasing physical activity and healthy eating, we recommend in closing that the First Lady lead a national “Get Healthy Outdoors” campaign — much like the “See America First” campaign headed by First Lady Lady Bird Johnson in the 1960s to encourage visits to national parks and other American destinations.
Thank you for this opportunity to provide input on the important work of the Task Force of Childhood Obesity.”
June has been officially designated Great Outdoors Month by President Obama and more than half of America’s governors, according to RVIA Today, a newsletter distributed by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).
The proclamations were suggested by a coalition of dozens of recreation and conservation organizations, many of which coordinate special events held during June, including National Trails Day, National Fishing and Boating Week, National Get Outdoors Day and the Great American Backyard Campout.
Obama’s proclamation states, “The United States is blessed with unparalleled natural beauty. From remote forests to urban parks, these spaces have inspired visitors for generations.” It goes on to say, “Exploring the great outdoors can also help improve one’s health. These spaces provide countless venues for walking, hiking, running, swimming, and boating, among other activities. Americans can combine the enjoyment of being outside with the exercise we all need to stay healthy.”
The proclamation highlights important initiatives of the administration, noting that it is “working to connect America’s youth with our treasured landscapes, which should be viewed as classrooms for environmental education and gateways to careers in natural resources.” The president concludes, “I encourage all Americans to spend more time outside and to participate in the nationwide events marking this occasion.”
To read the full text of the president’s proclamation click here.
Again in 2009, a majority of America’s governors have also proclaimed June as Great Outdoors Month in their home states. Here are some of the highlights of the 2009 proclamations:
“Great Outdoors Month is an opportunity to celebrate and experienceAmerica’s splendor and renew our commitment to conserve our air, water, and land.” Alabama Gov. Bob Riley
“In Maine and throughout this country, the number of overweight children is on the rise, and the State of Maine’s ‘Take It Outside’ initiative encourages parents to take their children outside and experience their own backyards and Maine’s many treasures in the great outdoors.” Maine Gov. John E. Baldacci
“It is important to maintain and enhance our legacy of environmental stewardship and enjoyment of the great outdoors by introducing children to nature.” North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven