In December, the U.S. Department of the Interior released a report detailing key successes of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative (AGO).
Segments of the report include local conservation priorities, expanding access to lands and waters for recreation, restoring critical landscapes, and creating urban parks and water trails in American communities.
The 2012 America’s Great Outdoors Progress Report 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.
Great Outdoors Initiative projects include:
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) established a new “America the Beautiful Pass” that allows the men and women in our armed forces and their families to visit more than 2,000 national parks, national forests, wildlife refuges, and other public lands without paying entrance or amenity fees.
USDA and DOI investments in Youth Conservation Corps programs during 2012 increased participation by 20 percent above 2011 levels.
DOI and the Department of Education signed an historic agreement to expand outdoor learning access for an estimated 54 million students and teachers.
The President has designated four new National Monuments that protect unique American natural, cultural and historic sites and promote local economic growth.
EPA is leading a multi-agency team to revitalize urban waterways and increase access for all Americans through the Urban Waters Federal Partnership, beginning in seven pilot cities.
DOI, USDA, USACE and the U.S. Department of Commerce re-launched the recreation.gov website with dramatic improvements and expanded content, helping millions of visitors plan travel, find outdoor resources, and explore national parks, lands, waters and historic and cultural sites.
USACE, DOI, DOC, the EPA and the U.S. Department of Transportation established a new National Water Trails System, opening up access points that connect people and communities to recreational opportunities on shorelines and waterways across the country.
According to DOI, the report provides evidence that the Great Outdoors Initiative promotes an approach to conservation that is locally driven, rooted in science, and involves collaboration among the full range of stakeholders, including Federal agencies, businesses, farmers, ranchers, sportsmen and women, conservation organizations and State, Tribal and local leaders.
President Obama launched AGO in April 2010. In 2011, CEQ, DOI, USDA, and 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. In March 2012 a White House Conference on Conservation focused on the AGO initiative.
For more information about the Great Outdoors Initiative, visit: www.whitehouse.gov/ceq/initiatives/ago