America's Great Outdoors Initiative
Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, hosted a listening session under President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative to hear from individuals on how to better conserve our nation's land, water and wildlife and develop opportunities for Americans to enjoy outdoor recreation. The listening session, located near the confluence of the Illinois and Missouri Rivers with the Mississippi, was one of a series taking place across the country. The listening session gave people an opportunity to share how communities are meeting the challenges of modern-day land conservation and reconnecting Americans to the outdoors. Darcy was joined by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. Prior to the public listening session, Darcy met with more than 320 youth at the National Great Rivers Museum in Alton, Ill, to hear their ideas on conserving and connecting with the outdoors. Darcy and the youth participated in a number of hands-on activities regarding water conservation and recreation

On February 15, 2011, President Barack Obama announced the America's Great Outdoors Report, the Administration's action plan under the America's Great Outdoors initiative to achieve lasting conservation of the outdoor spaces that power our nation's economy, shape our culture, and build our outdoor traditions.

The report released outlines ways in which the Federal Government will help empower local communities to accomplish their conservation and recreation priorities by recognizing that the best ideas come from outside of Washington. In the summer of 2010, senior Administration officials held 51 listening sessions across the country to gather input from Americans about the outdoor places and activities that they value most. These sessions drew more than 10,000 participants and more than 105,000 written comments, used to inform the America's Great Outdoors Report, which when implemented will result in:

•Accessible parks or green spaces for our children.
•A new generation of great urban parks and community green spaces.
•Newly-restored river restorations and recreational "blueways" that power economic revitalization in communities.
•Stronger support for farmers, ranchers, and private landowners that help protect rural landscapes and provide access for recreation.
•The reinvestment of revenues from oil and gas extraction into the permanent protection of parks, open spaces, wildlife habitat, and access for recreational activities.
•A 21st century conservation ethic that builds on local ideas and solutions for environmental stewardship and connecting to our historic, cultural, and natural heritage

Page last updated Thu April 25th, 2013 at 00:00