Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, addressed resource and recreation planners from around the country
BRECKENRIDGE — The Obama administration is committed to implementing its new Great Outdoors strategy and is working toward that goal with the formation of an interagency council to make sure that various federal agencies are collaborating efficiently on the AGO initiatives.
That was the message heard by scores of leading recreation and resource planners in Breckenridge last week, as Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality address the annual conference of the National Association of Resource Recreation Planners at Beaver Run resort.
Sutley said the real solutions will come from local communities across the country and the federal government will try and support those efforts, in part by calling for full funding of the Land and Water Conservation fund for only the third time in history.
“Outdoor recreation and conservation professionals are excited about the AGO Initiative and supporting its implementation. AGO is a banner under which all of the government, business and non-profit facets of our industry can rally,” said conference planning committee co-chair Scott Babcock. “In particular, the administration’s call to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a key tool for creating and protecting open space and recreational opportunities, will go a long way toward meeting outdoor recreation needs in communities nationwide.”
The America’s Great Outdoors Initiative began in April 2010 and culminated in a pioneering report in February 2011 based on the input of thousands of Americans who voiced their thoughts and ideas about the best future for our water, wild land, wildlife, and historic and cultural landmarks.
Ms. Sutley’s presentation highlighted:
· President Obama’s action plan to support the strategies suggested by communities across the country to protect and help people connect with outdoor spaces;
· The goal of the initiative – driving a new conversation about the outdoor places and traditions that all of us cherish;
· The status of America’s children and the Great Outdoors: children today spend half as much time outdoors as their parents did;
· The conservation challenges of the 21st Century: pollution, development, a growing population, and the impacts of climate change – and the need for new solutions;
· New solutions will not come from Washington but from our communities;
· The AGO plan calling for full funding of the Land and Water Conservation for only the third time in history
· Formation of the interagency AGO Council to make sure Federal agencies are collaborating efficiently on the AGO initiatives;
· The Federal Government’s role and resources when it comes to outdoor recreation and recreational opportunities;
· How a healthy environment and a healthy economy go hand in hand; and.
· The motivation that America’s children will live with the consequences of the actions we take today.
President Obama launched the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative 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 that addresses these challenges.
AGO takes as its premise that lasting conservation solutions should rise from the American people—that the protection of our natural heritage is a non-partisan objective shared by all Americans. Through listening sessions and outreach, AGO launched a robust public conversation about the future of conservation in America.
The complete report from those conversations can be viewed online at: www.americasgreatoutdoors.gov.
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