Today, the Administration released a progress report on President Obama's America's Great Outdoors Initiative (AGO) that shows on-the-ground results for American communities. Built through unprecedented public outreach, AGO represents the President's vision for a 21st century conservation agenda to protect, connect, and restore the parks, rivers, open spaces and working lands American's clearly love.
Here's what others have to say about how AGO is conserving and restoring critical outdoor spaces, and supporting thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity:
"The vision and potential of the America's Great Outdoors initiative is truly extraordinary and the progress made thus far is nothing short of remarkable. These accomplishments are a testament to the power of partnerships, the commitment of communities and the passion of youth. The young leaders of Outdoor Nation are grateful for the leadership of President Obama and his Administration and are actively implementing projects that will result in a lasting legacy of America's Great Outdoors."
Christine Fanning, Executive Director, The Outdoor Foundation
"American Rivers commends President Obama and his Administration for the significant progress made thus far in implementing the America's Great Outdoors initiative. Communities across the country took up the challenge to develop new homegrown conservation strategies for the 21st Century. Removing the Elwha River dams on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula; designating new water trails in Illinois, Indiana, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania; and laying the foundation for more water trails to be designated across the country are outstanding examples of how the America's Great Outdoors initiative is helping to protect and restore rivers and reconnect Americans to the natural world. Building on this early success, we look forward to working with the Administration in the coming year in support of the National Blueways Initiative to protect rivers and connect communities, from the Congaree River in South Carolina to the San Joaquin River in California."
Wm. Robert Irvin, President and CEO, American Rivers
"The Flint Hills and Dakota Grasslands are excellent examples of investing in the future of conservation. These precious gifts were given to us to steward, improve and pass along to generations yet unborn. Ducks Unlimited is pleased to partner with the Department of the Interior on these critically important issues and we look forward to doing our part to make the Dakota Grasslands a success."
Dale Hall, CEO, Ducks Unlimited
"The conservation economy—recreation, restoration, and renewable energy—provides tremendous economic benefits to communities surrounding public lands, which are often in the rural areas that need them the most. The administration’s first Progress Report on the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative highlights many examples of the places where conservation of public lands supports jobs while at the same time protecting valued resources like clean air and clean water. Policies that create jobs by protecting public lands should be a part of the discussion that lawmakers have in this time of fiscal uncertainty."
Christy Goldfuss, Director of the Public Lands Project, Center for American Progress
"From the Gettysburg battlefield to Montana's Rocky Mountain Front and sage grouse habitat on Western ranches, Americans cherish their history, wildlife, local communities and way of life. The Conservation Fund commends America's Great Outdoors and the Administration for its leadership to conserve our land and waters for the enjoyment of all Americans. Investments from the Land and Water Conservation Fund in our nation's great network of parks, historic sites, public lands and working forests, farms and ranches will yield long term dividends for our children and grandchildren."
Larry Selzer, President & CEO, The Conservation Fund
"The Trust for Public Land commends the Administration for its commitment to the important goal of connecting more people to outdoor recreation opportunities. This AGO progress report shows the depth and breadth of the administration's effort over the past year, and builds a strong foundation for maintaining the link between outdoor recreation, healthy communities and a strong economy. From our work across the country - in cities and rural working landscapes alike - The Trust for Public Land knows how much Americans value the great outdoors and are willing to invest in it for the future."
Kathy DeCoster, Vice President and Director of Federal Affairs, Trust for Public Land
"It is much easier to take care of something you actually know. This is why the AGO Initiative is so very important; by working to help all Americans experience and enjoy their outdoor spaces, from mountain ranges and wild rivers to farms and city parks, we are making a thoughtful and prudent investment in the future of conservation in this country."
Adam Cramer, Policy Architect, Outdoor Alliance
"As stewards of America's State Parks we are pleased President Obama has engaged the nation in a dialog to highlight the importance of funding our public lands at the local, state and national level for the health, inspiration and well being of all Americans. The accomplishments made during the first eight months of the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative are a testament to the commitment by the president and the leaders of his administration to expand access to the outdoors by promoting recreation and investing in parks. America's State Parks strongly supports the AGO mission. We provide a significant economic impact estimated at $23 billion generated from 741 million visits in 2010 to the over 7,000 state park sites across America. The success of the America's Great Outdoors Initiative clearly benefits the health and happiness of all citizens. America's State Parks are pleased to join in supporting that achievement."
Ruth Coleman, President, National Association of State Park Directors
"At a time when our lands and waters face unprecedented attacks, America's Great Outdoors is a necessary reminder that Americans strongly support conservation. The report represents a continuation of the open conversation that the Obama administration has been having across the country for over a year. Like President Theodore Roosevelt's vision for conservation at the turn of the 20th century, America's Great Outdoors is a bipartisan conservation initiative for the 21st century. We look forward to working with the president and his administration on full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund as well as the exciting upcoming projects that include landscape-scale conservation in the Crown of the Continent region of the northern Rockies and the northern forests of New England and New York."
William H. Meadows, President, The Wilderness Society
"The release of the America's Great Outdoors Progress Report today marks a significant milestone, a time to reflect on “our glorious heritage” and consider our collective responsibility in assuring that our citizens, especially our children and youth, understand the value of the natural gifts they have been given and their role in assuring that the gifts are treasured and maintained for future generations. As noted in the report, Americans care about the legacy they have received and they want to pass along a clean and healthy environment to their children. On behalf of The Corps Network, representing Service and Conservation Corps across the nation and the 33,000 young people enrolled, I extend appreciation to all who have provided leadership to the America’s Great Outdoors effort, to those who gave input to the report and especially to those who have assumed responsibility for implementation. Progress during this first year is most impressive! The increased focus on youth and young adults is welcomed and appreciated! We will continue working in support of the America’s Great Outdoors initiative with a special focus on seeing the 21st Century Conservation Corps established. We gladly join forces with partners who see the value in reconnecting with the land. It would be easy in the midst of confusing times to lose sight of the importance of our lands, water and air – the very essence of our being. We cannot allow that to happen."
Sally T. Prouty, President and CEO, The Corps Network
"The America's Great Outdoors initiative puts an important focus on the value of conservation to the Western economy and our hunting and fishing traditions. The efforts of the President and Congress to preserve our heritage will also preserve American jobs and our clean water, wildlife, and wildlife habitat."
Gaspar Perricone, Co-Director, Bull Moose Sportsmen's Alliance
"Within their AGO Initiative, we applaud the Obama Administration for focusing its staff and funding on key restoration efforts in the Great Lakes, Jamaica Bay, greater Everglades ecosystem and Olympic National Park. This critical work will bring these areas back to life for visitors and native wildlife. In addition, we appreciate all of the work to get children and their parents outdoors and commemorating the Civil War by emphasizing the resulting Civil Rights movement and the need to protect more sacred ground of many battlefields."
Thomas C. Kiernan, President, National Parks Conservation Association
"The White House's commitment to America's Great Outdoors is critical to sustaining American jobs, as well as fish and wildlife, clean water and our nation's outdoor traditions. New research shows that the great outdoors and historic preservation generate more than $1 trillion in total economic activity and support 9.4 million jobs each year. America's Voice for Conservation, Recreation and Preservation, a coalition of more than 770 organizations, has united in support of conservation, recreation and preservation programs as a means to create jobs and improve the economy. Consequently, America's Great Outdoors represents a necessary investment in the hunting and fishing heritage and economic well-being that are crucial to millions of American citizens."
Vaughn Collins, Director of Government Affairs, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
"The accomplishments of America's Great Outdoors in such a short time demonstrate the promise of this approach to providing tangible and lasting benefits for the American people. This effort is protecting nature from the grass roots up by encouraging conservation at the community level. In turn, that will help ensure clean water supplies, support jobs in tourism and recreation, preserve working farms and ranches and protect wildlife for people and nature. In fact, a recent study found that the economic impacts of outdoor recreation, natural resource conservation and historic preservation activities in the United States contributed a minimum of $1.06 trillion dollars to the economy, created a $107 billion return on investment to federal, state and local governments through tax revenue and supported 9.4 million jobs. We commend the administration on the progress that has been made, and look forward to continuing this work together. An investment in the great outdoors is an investment in America – one which helps ensure the healthy land and water that are vital to our nation's strength."
Bob Bendick, Director of U.S. Government Relations, The Nature Conservancy
"This leadership from the Obama administration on America’s Great Outdoors is a good sign for our businesses that depend on a healthy Colorado River for our economic viability."
Molly Mugglestone, Coordinator of Protect the Flows, a coalition of 250 businesses that depend on the Colorado River
"The Student Conservation Association (SCA) is pleased that the first goal of the AGO is to engage young Americans in protecting our nation's lands through the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps. SCA and other youth corps are partnering with the federal agencies to engage diverse you and veterans in this initiative. Together we are protecting America's lands and developing tomorrow's conservation leaders."
Dale Penny, President and CEO, Student Conservation Association
"TU appreciates the hard work invested by our federal natural resource agency partners to advance the outstanding goals of the America's Great Outdoors Initiative. In a time of unprecedented budget cuts and reduced institutional capacity, the resource agencies have accomplished a strong record of success in the past year...Today's report is proof that that Nation is moving forward on a strong conservation agenda."
Steve Moyer, Vice President of Government Affairs, Trout Unlimited
"The recently released America's Great Outdoors Progress Report shows what the value of outdoor recreation is to this country. The protection of public lands and rivers is very important to our economy and the fly-fishing industry. For us it is simple: public lands are instrumental to the fly fishing industry and the opportunity to enjoy those venues leads to economic activity for our members and the industry we represent."
Randi Swisher, President, American Fly Fishing Trade Association
"The President's America's Great Outdoors initiative launched an important conversation about the value of our public lands for the outdoor recreation economy. With the release of this progress report, the president can now demonstrate his commitment to protecting the public lands and rivers near Denver and across the country. Designating new parks and monuments, funding critical conservation programs, and investing in our outdoors heritage protects wildlife habitat, creates recreational opportunity, and leads to economic activity and jobs."
Maxwell Key, Owner/Founder, Cheeky Fly Fishing
Jay Jensen is Associate Director for Land and Water Ecosystems at the White House Council on Environmental Quality