Last April President Obama established the America's Great Outdoors Initiative. The program is designed to work with the American people in developing a conservation and recreation agenda that makes sense for the 21st century. A report released by the Administration 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.
Last summer, senior Administration officials held 51 listening sessions across the country to gather input from Americans about the outdoor places and activities they value most. Through the AGO listening sessions and public input process, it was learned that there is a powerful consensus across America that outdoor spaces- public and private, large and small, urban and rural - remain essential to our quality of life, our economy, and our national identity.
Americans communicated clearly that they care deeply about our outdoor heritage, want to enjoy and protect it, and are willing to take collective responsibility to protect it for their children and grandchildren. In fact, they are already doing so. They are restoring rivers and streams, building and improving hiking trails and bike paths, ensuring the long-term conservation of their privatelands, sponsoring beach and roadside cleanups, planting trees and gardens, and restoring migratory bird habitat and populations.
As a result of the listening session, an action plan has been proposed, based on local initiatives and support.
When implemented, the plan will result in: 1) A new generation of great urban parks and community green spaces; 2) Newly-restored river restorations and recreational "blueways"; 3) Stronger support for farmers, ranchers, and private landowners that help protect rural landscapes and provide access for recreation; 4) The reinvestment of revenues from oil and gas extraction into the permanent protection of parks, open spaces, wildlife habitat, and access for recreational activities; and 5) A 21st century conservation ethic that builds on local ideas and solutions for environmental stewardship and connecting to our historic, cultural, and natural heritage.