President Obama outlines plan for America’s Great Outdoors

President Obama took time out from his very busy schedule yesterday to offer details of his America’s Great Outdoors program, a new plan designed to preserve the country’s national parks and other open spaces, while reconnecting Americans to nature.

The plan, which was originally announced last year, has been refined over the past ten months by a series of “listening sessions” during which Administration officials learned what has worked and what hasn’t, on a local, grassroots level, across the country. The result is a road map for the future of America’s outdoor natural resources that includes creating new parks and green spaces for future generations of Americans to enjoy. The initiative also includes options for restoring rivers and opening up the lands around them for recreational purposes and offering support to farmers and other landowners who work to protect their landscapes and make them available for recreation as well.

The America’s Great Outdoors program was immediately hailed as a positive move by environmental organizations and outdoor groups across the country. For instance, Tom Kiernan, president of the National Parks Conservation Association, called the President’s announcements “a great first step towards ensuring our national parks, wildlife, and American heritage is better protected for future generations.” But Kiernan went on to stress that the Administration now has a lot of work ahead of it to achieve the goals it has set for the program.

The NPCA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect America’s national parks from threats such as climate change and air pollution in advance of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016. America’s national park system has been called our “best idea” and the NPCA hope to ensure that they’re around for at least another century as well. For more on the NPCA’s position on the AGO, and the role that national parks will play in it, click here. And to find out more about President Obama’s initiatives, check out the America’s Great Outdoors website by clicking here. You can also access the full AGO report by clicking here.

As a big fan of America’s national parks, I’m happy to hear that the Administration has put its full weight behind protecting them for future generations as well as creating new parks for us all to enjoy as well. More outdoor space for the public to explore sounds like a very good thing.