Agencies detail Obama's Great Outdoors Initiative
October 12, 2011
WASHINGTON – The Obama Administration today (Oct. 12, 2011) detailed how the President’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative (AGO) is opening up access to lands and waters, restoring critical landscapes, reconnecting Americans to the natural world, and supporting thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity.

With the release of the 2011 America’s Great Outdoors Progress Report, 15 federal agencies outlined their combined conservation and recreation successes, including gains in youth employment, new trail designations, the creation of urban campgrounds, and historic investments in large landscapes such as the Everglades.

In addition to social, cultural and historic value, America’s outdoors provide vital jobs and economic benefits to communities across the country. For example, National Parks see more than 280 million visitors, generating $12 billion in visitor spending and supporting nearly 250,000 jobs. The Outdoor Industry Association estimates recreation activities including hiking, camping, and fishing contribute $730 billion to the U.S. economy, support more than 6 million jobs, and generate $289 billion annually in retail sales and services.

“The quality and accessibility of our outdoor spaces have a significant impact on the economic and physical health of American communities,” said Nancy Sutley, chair of the Council on Environmental Quality. “Actions under the America’s Great Outdoors initiative are reinvigorating a national discussion about the value of conservation,resulting in smart, innovative strategies and investments that respond to the priorities of American communities.”

President Obama launched AGO in April 2010 to foster a 21st century approach to conservation that is designed by and accomplished in partnership with the American people. In February, the Council on Environmental Quality, U.S. Department of Interior (DOI), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) presented an AGO report to the President outlining a conservation action plan using input received from more than 100,000 public comments and 51 public listening sessions across the country.

The Progress Report released today describes how agencies are working together and with private sector, non-profit and community partners to leverage resources and deliver on-the-ground results for Americans. For example:

To read the Progress Report or for more information about the America’s Great Outdoors initiative, visit here.

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