ARC Supporting Jewell’s Nomination to Interior

February 6, 2013 by · Comments Off on ARC Supporting Jewell’s Nomination to Interior 

Sally Jewell

The American Recreation Coalition (ARC) has endorsed President Obama’s nomination today (Feb. 6) of Sally Jewell as the new Secretary of the Interior, succeeding Ken Salazar.

In a statement, ARC stated, “The recreation community is delighted by the President’s nomination of Sally Jewell to lead national conservation and recreation efforts as Secretary of the Interior. Sally is widely respected for her intelligence, her passion and her leadership skills. She has invested heavily with her time as a leader on the America’s Great Outdoors initiative, has supported use of the outdoors as a tool for better health and for stronger, sustainable communities. And she has worked actively through REI, through recreation industry organizations and personally to connect younger, more urban and ethnically diverse Americans to our share legacy of parks, forests, refuges and other outdoor treasures.”

Jewell is CEO of Recreational Equipment (REI).

The choice of Jewell, who began her career as an engineer for Mobil Oil and worked as a commercial banker before heading a nearly $2 billion outdoors equipment company, represents an unconventional choice for a post usually reserved for career politicians from the West, the Washington Post reported.

But while she boasts less public policy experience than other candidates who had been under consideration, Jewell, who will have to be confirmed by the Senate, has earned national recognition for her management skills and support for outdoor recreation and habitat conservation.

In 2011 Jewell introduced Obama at the White House conference on “America’s Great Outdoor Initiative,” noting that the $289 billion outdoor-recreation industry supports 6.5 million jobs.

Jewell would take over at a time when many conservationists are pressing Obama to take bolder action on land conservation. Salazar devoted much of his tenure to both promoting renewable energy on public land and managing the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

There has been concern from some that she lacks the political experience and broad knowledge of the issues confronting the sprawling department. Its responsibilities include management of public lands; oil, gas and timber production; fish and wildlife; tribal lands; and federal policy on places such as Guam, the Northern Marianas and Samoa.

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Report: Salazar to Vacate Interior Secretary Post

January 16, 2013 by · Comments Off on Report: Salazar to Vacate Interior Secretary Post 

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar (center) at the 2011 Louisville Show flanked by RVIA President Richard Coon (L) and RVIA Chairman Gregg Fore

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who oversaw a moratorium on offshore drilling after the BP oil spill and promoted alternative energy sources throughout the nation, will step down in March.

The Associated Press reported that Salazar, a former Colorado senator, has run the Interior Department throughout President Barack Obama’s first term and pushed renewable power such as solar and wind and the settlement of a longstanding dispute with American Indians.

In a statement, Obama said Salazar had helped “usher in a new era of conservation for our nation’s land, water and wildlife” and had played a major role in efforts to “expand responsible development of our nation’s domestic energy resources.”

Salazar said in a statement that the Interior Department was helping secure “a new energy frontier” and cited an aggressive agenda to reform oil and gas leases, which he said had increased offshore drilling safety.

Under his watch, the Interior Department has authorized nearly three dozen solar, wind and geothermal energy projects on public lands that provide enough electricity to power more than 3 million homes, Salazar said.

Salazar spoke at the 2011 Louisville Show, touting the RV industry as a key proponent in connecting Americans with the outdoors.

“RV’s play a special role in providing Americans a time-honored way of reaching their camping, fishing, hunting and other recreation destinations,” Secretary Salazar said. “And, as a virtually 100% American industry, the RV industry plays a key role in our nation’s economy, employing tens of thousands of men and women right here at home.”

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire, a longtime Obama ally, is among those mentioned as a potential successor to Salazar, along with John Berry, director of the White House Office of Personnel Management. Berry is a former assistant Interior secretary and director of the National Zoo. Gregoire, whose term expires Wednesday, also is considered a candidate to replace Lisa Jackson at the Environmental Protection Agency.


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Ken Salazar Touts RV Industry at Annual Kickoff

November 29, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Secretary Salazar cuts the ribbon to the 49th National RV Trade Show with RVIA Chairman Gregg Fore (right) and RVIA President Richard Coon (left) at RVIA's Outlook 2012.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar visited the 49th Annual National RV Trade Show today (Nov. 29) to highlight the economic impact generated by outdoor recreation in the United States — including opportunities at parks and other scenic and historic places — and to encourage Americans to take part in growing local economies and creating jobs through tourism, travel and connecting with America’s great outdoors.

“RV’s play a special role in providing Americans a time-honored way of reaching their camping, fishing, hunting and other recreation destinations,” Secretary Salazar said. “And, as a virtually 100% American industry, the RV industry plays a key role in our nation’s economy, employing tens of thousands of men and women right here at home.”

In his remarks, Salazar noted the important relationship between the Department of the Interior and RV owners. In 2010, RV travelers spent nearly 2.3 million nights at National Parks – up 10% from 2008.

“RV owners are often great champions for conservation as they know first-hand that the investments we make in our parks, historic sites and other public lands not only allow people to enjoy these incredible places, but they also help grow local economies across the country,” Salazar said.

Public lands managed by the Department of Interior draw more than 400 million visits a year. According to some recent non-governmental estimates, outdoor recreation, conservation and heritage initiatives support as many as 8.4 million jobs and provide as much as $1 trillion in annual economic benefits. Additionally, one in 20 U.S. jobs are in the recreation economy – more than there are doctors, lawyers, or teachers.

The RV industry is a major player in the outdoor recreation economy, with more than 12,000 RV-related businesses operating in the U.S. with combined annual revenues of more than $37.5 billion, according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). RVIA estimates the industry employs more than a quarter million Americans – particularly in Indiana where 79% percent of recreational vehicles are made.

Salazar also highlighted a report issued earlier this month from Interior that outlines more than 100 conservation and recreation projects — two in each state — representing what states believe are among the best investments in the nation to support a healthy, active population, conserve wildlife and working lands, and create travel, tourism and outdoor-recreation jobs across the country.

The report is part of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative to support local conservation initiatives across the country. The report includes 24 projects to construct trails, 23 to conserve and provide recreational access to rivers, 20 to create and improve access to urban parks and 13 to restore and conserve significant landscapes and ecosystems.

Later in the morning, Salazar also visited Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge in south-central Indiana, where the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is conserving forest, wetland and grassland habitat for more than 280 species of migratory birds, river otters, the rare copperbelly water snake and other wildlife. There, he met with employees and stakeholders to discuss the vital importance of conservation efforts to ensure Americans’ access to the outdoors and economic strength for future generations.


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RV Industry Shows Slight Improvement for 2011

November 29, 2011 by · Comments Off on RV Industry Shows Slight Improvement for 2011 

RVIA President Richard Coon

The RV industry pointed Tuesday (Nov. 29) to a slight improvement from last year’s turnaround performance as another sign the recession-dented sector is on the road to recovery. But, according to an Associated Press report, a slight speed bump might be on the horizon.

RV makers, dealers and suppliers attending the 49th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., were told that 2011 shipments from manufacturers to dealers are expected to be up 2% from last year’s 242,300 shipped units. The 2010 total amounted to a 46% gain from 2009.

“You guys sitting in this room today are all survivors in this industry, and I think that bodes very well,” said Richard A. Coon, president of the Reston, Va.-based Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), which annually hosts the trade-only show.

Despite the upswing, the recreational vehicle industry still has considerable ground to cover to catch up with pre-recessionary levels.

In 2007, shipments totaled 353,400 — the fourth-highest figure in the past quarter century. By 2009, shipments slumped to 165,700 units as older RVs parked on dealers’ lots drew scant interest from cash-conscious consumers.

Consumers remain jittery by stubbornly high unemployment, sagging home values and a volatile stock market. As a result, the industry is bracing for a projected 2.6% decline in RV shipments in 2012, based on a forecast by University of Michigan economist Richard Curtin.

“It plays with the psyche of those people that are in our target market,” said Bob Olson, chairman of RV maker Winnebago Industries Inc., Forest City, Iowa, and co-chairman of the industry’s Go RVing Coalition.

Despite lackluster consumer confidence, Olson said there have been favorable trends — dealer inventories have improved and consumer credit has become more available, especially for less-expensive towable RVs attached to pickups or hitched to the back of another vehicle.

“A lot of tough decisions were made by everybody in that room in order to be here today,” Olson said following the trade show’s Outlook Breakfast. “You didn’t find anybody in the RV industry getting a bailout. We did it the old-fashioned way, with some pretty tough decisions.”

Since 2008, the number of RV manufacturers has dropped by 35%, Coon said. The ranks of suppliers fell by 32%. Everyone had to make adjustments to survive the nation’s worst recession since the Great Depression.

Tom Stinnett, an RV dealer in nearby southern Indiana and co-chairman of the Go RVing Coalition, said he reshuffled his inventory to focus mostly on towables. Before the recession, his lot was divided between towables and more costly stand-alone motorhomes.

Towables cost between $6,000 and $100,000, according to RVIA. Stand-alone motor homes range from $50,000 to as much as $400,000 for top-of-the-line, bus-like vehicles.

Stinnett said his business is profitable again after several “brutal years of downsizing and reorganizing.”

“We have nowhere to go but up,” he said. “Three years ago, we were very, very worried about making it through this disastrous time.”

AP reported that U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar also gave a pep talk to the industry.

“Your best days are still ahead,” he said before briefly touring a sprawling convention hall filled with the industry’s newest models.

Salazar said investments in conservation and outdoor recreation would help fuel job growth. He cited a study showing more than 8.4 million U.S. jobs are created every year thanks to outdoor recreation.

In 2010, RV travelers spent nearly 2.3 million nights at national parks, up 10% from 2008, he said.

“RV owners are often great champions for conservation as they know firsthand that the investments we make in our parks, historic sites and other public lands not only allow people to enjoy these incredible places, but they also help grow local economies across the country,” Salazar said.

Employment is also on the rebound in the industry.

RV manufacturers and suppliers now employ about 375,000 people, up about 50% since November 2008, according to RVIA. But the overall work force is still down from the more than 500,000 workers before the recession.




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Secretary Ken Salazar Joins Outlook ’12 Lineup

November 22, 2011 by · Comments Off on Secretary Ken Salazar Joins Outlook ’12 Lineup 

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar will be a special guest at “Outlook 2012: Up & Away,” the all-industry pep rally hosted by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) kicking off the 49th Annual National RV Trade Show on Tuesday morning, Nov. 29, at 7:30 a.m. in the South Wing Mezzanine Ballroom of the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) in Louisville.

An avid outdoors enthusiast, Secretary Salazar will share his thoughts about the economic importance of outdoor recreation in America, the job-creating power of conservation, the future of the nation’s public lands, and his thoughts about RV travel and camping.

“As one of our nation’s most respected leaders, Secretary Salazar has constantly demonstrated a passionate commitment to preserving and improving the nation’s public land resources,” said RVIA President Richard Coon in a press release. “His appearance at Outlook 2012 will be a tremendous opportunity for industry members to learn what lies ahead for the public lands that are such popular destinations and recreation areas for the nation’s RV community.”

Hosted by RVIA Chairman Gregg Fore, “Outlook 2012: Up & Away” will also feature “What’s Up!” with Coon providing his thoughts on key RV industry issues and detailing how RVIA is working to help the industry soar. In “Away We Go!,” Go RVing Co-Chairs Bob Olson and Tom Stinnett will team with RVIA Public Relations Committee Chairman B.J. Thompson and RVIA Vice President of Public Relations and Advertising James Ashurst for a joint multimedia presentation recounting 2011 accomplishments in the advertising and public relations arenas and reviewing new approaches for the upcoming year.

The program culminates with Stan Richards, founder and creative principal of the Richards Group, unveiling the agency’s new Go RVing “AWAY” national advertising campaign and sharing marketing insights drawn from his long career as one of the advertising industry’s respected leaders.

Other special guests scheduled to appear include Rutledge Wood, SPEED Channel NASCAR racing analyst and co-host of History’s Top Gear, and country music artist Chuck Wicks.

The “Outlook 2012: Up & Away” program and breakfast are free for attendees on a first-come, first-serve basis. All National RV Trade Show attendees are welcome, and no reservations are necessary. Show badge registration will be available in the South Wing Lobby C Entrance prior to the event.

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Salazar Notes RV Role in Glamis Dunes Visit

February 21, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Glamis Dunes

Glamis Dunes

One of President Obama’s cabinet members visited the Desert Southwest on Sunday (Feb. 20).

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar came to Glamis Dunes in Southern California to emphasize the importance of the outdoors, public safety and its economic impact, KYMA-TV, Yuma, Ariz., reported.

Bureau of Land Management Direct Bob Abbey accompanied Salazar on his rare and unique trip to Imperial County.

Salazar came to emphasize President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative.

He told county officials protecting the dunes is crucial, not just to conserve the land, but to build the economy.

Salazar says 1.3 million million people visit the dunes each year, calling it “a big economic engine.”

He adds 6 1/2 million jobs across the country are created from these types of recreation activities.

Salazar says, “You see the economic investment people make in their recreational vehicles; the money that they spend on gasoline, the money that they spend on parts — it’s all part of a healthy economy. And it’s not being exported.”

The secretary of interior also touched on the importance of federal land.  And how it holds the key to the future of not just the Imperial Valley, but also the rest of the country.

He says, “This will become one of the places where we’re generating power for Los Angeles, for San Diego, for some of the big consumption of electricity.”

County officials were taken aback by Salazar’s decision to come to Imperial County.

District Five Supervisor Raymond Castillo remarked, “The last time we had the secretary of the interior out here was during Reagan’s administration which was 30 years ago, so this is great for us.”

District Two Supervisor Jack Terrazas added, “Hopefully this is a message he can take back to the president, who obviously he has direct contact with, especially in these times of cutting numbers.”

Meanwhile, while Congress grapples with a budget, county supervisors hope Salazar’s visit sends a message that the valley needs more funding.

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Salazar Tabs More ‘Fee-Free’ Days for 2010

April 22, 2010 by · Comments Off on Salazar Tabs More ‘Fee-Free’ Days for 2010 

Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior

Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior

To mark the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day and to celebrate the launch of the Obama Administration’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today (April 22) announced a schedule of free admission days to many of the lands managed by the department, according to a news release.

All national parks, national wildlife refuges and many areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management will offer free admission on June 5-6, Aug. 14-15, Sept. 25 (Public Lands Day), and Nov. 11 (Veterans Day). These dates are in addition to the previously announced free admission at all 392 national parks April 17-25 as part of the celebration of National Park Week.

“President Obama has made connecting Americans to the outdoors and our history a fundamental goal of the conservation initiative announced at Friday’s White House Conference on America’s Great Outdoors,” said Salazar.

“The Interior Department was proud to host that conference and will be even prouder to host Americans who want to get outdoors to visit their public lands.”

America’s public lands offer opportunities to engage in healthy, outdoor activities, whether for a few hours or a few days. More details about fee free days and activities are available for:

“What better way to celebrate this Earth Day than to make it easier for all Americans to experience the breathtaking landscapes, amazing creatures, and the stories that make up our shared heritage,” added Salazar. “By getting outdoors, we remind ourselves of our blessings and of the responsibility we all have to pass these lands on to our children and our grandchildren.”

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National Parks Get $750M Stimulus Injection

April 23, 2009 by · Comments Off on National Parks Get $750M Stimulus Injection 

The National Park Service will invest $750 million in 750 restoration and protection projects at parks across the country to create jobs and preserve American history and heritage for future generations, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced Wednesday (April 22). 

The funding comes under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, part of the $3 billion allotment to the Interior Department, according to the Environment News Service

“From the Civil War to the Great Depression, America’s best ideas for protecting our national parks and open spaces have often come when our nation has faced its greatest challenges,” said Salazar. 

“Today, by investing $750 million to restore and protect America’s most special places, we are creating a new legacy of stewardship for our national park system while helping our economy stand up again,” he said. “These projects at places like Ellis Island in New York and Dinosaur National Monument in Utah are ready to go and will create jobs in communities across the country.” 

Parks Large and Small Will Benefit 

The National Park Service Recovery Act projects will benefit large parks such as Yellowstone, where more than $9 million will be spent to overhaul an antiquated wastewater treatment facility. 

At Olympic National Park in Washington state, $54.7 million will fund six mitigation projects to prepare for the removal of the Elwha Dam and restoration of the Elwha River basin. 

The funding will also benefit smaller parks such as Perry’s Victory and International and Peace Memorial in Ohio, where $7 million will be spent in the first phase of renovating the monument that commemorates Oliver Hazard Perry’s naval victory during the War of 1812. 

All the projects are long-standing priorities of the National Park Service that meet the criteria put forth in the Recovery Act – that a project addresses the department’s highest priority mission needs; generates the largest number of jobs in the shortest period of time; and creates lasting value for the American public. 

“This important reinvestment in the crumbling infrastructure of our national parks is a step that will create jobs in large and small communities nationwide, and help to restore our nation’s heritage for our children and grandchildren,” said Tom Kiernan, president of the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association. “There is much more to do to restore our national parks, but this is progress.”

The Interior Department’s list of National Park Service infrastructure projects includes: 

  • Upgrading Ash Mountain’s failing water system in Sequoia National Park to meet visitor needs and help with fire suppression, and the installation of renewable energy solar equipment to provide power for Yosemite National Park operations. 
  • The department will invest $30.5 million to repair the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and $7.3 million to restore the District of Columbia War Memorial at the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington, D.C. 
  • The Ellis Island Immigration Museum will get $26 million to repair the seawall and save one of its historic buildings. Of the total, $8.8 million will be spent to stabilize the Ellis Island Baggage and Dormitory Building built in 1908, one of the most significant structures at Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island in New York and New Jersey. 
  • At least $5.5 million will go to rehabilitate Independence Hall Tower at Independence National Historical Park in Pennsylvania. Famous as the location where the Declaration of Independence was debated and adopted, the building is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

The legislation passed by Congress in February includes an investment of $900 million that will help reduce the National Park Service’s $9 billion backlog of maintenance and preservation projects, and address other park infrastructure needs. 

Congress directed approximately $750 million toward national park infrastructure projects through the Department of the Interior; an additional $170 million is provided for national park road repairs through the Department of Transportation.

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