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The DAILY DIRT - The nitty and the gritty of outdoor news

Obama Launches Great Outdoors Initiative

President hopes to protect wilderness, create jobs, and get Americans outdoors through new program

Waffling on getting outdoors this weekend? Just do it: Even the President is getting in on the act. Obama held a news conference this morning to launch the Great Outdoors Initiative, a new executive plan to protect more of our wild spaces, establish urban parks, and get Americans outside and active. In an unusual move, Obama hopes to enact much of the initiative through local government, volunteer organizations, and private groups rather than use the heavy hand of federal government.

To help pull all this off, he plans to host listening sessions across the country to cull the best ideas to incorporate into the Great Outdoors Initiative.

In his speech, Obama clearly outlined his process to build the Great Outdoors Initiative:

"First, we’re going to build on successful conservation efforts being spearheaded outside of Washington -– by local and state governments, by tribes, and by private groups -– so we can write a new chapter in the protection of rivers, wildlife habitats, historic sites, and the great landscapes of our country.

Secondly, we’re going to help farmers, ranchers, property owners who want to protect their lands for their children and their grandchildren.

Third, we’ll help families spend more time outdoors, building on what the First Lady has done through the “Let’s Move” initiative to encourage young people to hike and bike and get outside more often.

And fourth, we want to foster a new generation of community and urban parks so that children across America have the chance to experience places like Millennium Park in my own Chicago."

To doubters, President Obama presented this compelling answer:
"In a time of great difficulty, when we are recovering from the worst recession in generations, and waging two wars abroad, some may ask whether now is the time to reaffirm our commitment to our national heritage.  But I want everybody to recall, it was in the midst of civil war that Abraham Lincoln set aside lands that are now Yosemite.  It was in midst of a great depression that FDR formed the Civilian Conservation Corps that built the trails and campgrounds and parks we enjoy today."
Don't think I could've said it better myself. I guess that's why I'm not president.

—Ted Alvarez



Tom Wendel
Apr 30, 2010

Watching Ken Burn's series on the National Parks, I was struck by the efforts made by some of our Presidents to be seen in the Parks and vigorously encourage their use. That was also the tactic used by John Muir and the first NPS Director, Stephen Mather. It seems to me that the last great promoter-in-chief was FDR.

The Parks are good for users and local economies. A lot of children who get early exposure in the Parks become outdoor enthusiasts as adults. The story in Burns' series about local opposition to Kenai Fjords and how it turned to support when locals saw the benefits was instructive.

When our political leaders fail to promote the Parks and other public lands and outdoor activities, it's a real lost opportunity.

Apr 29, 2010

what better way to recharge your batteries than a hike in the outdoors.I would think that saying hello to the president and the first lady on an outdoor trail would be one of my highlights for that hike.It's time to put down the Ipods and cell phones and hit the trails.

Matt 2
Apr 29, 2010

Why so negative Matt 1? This is Matt 2 here and I think this is a great first step in what could turn out to be something pretty cool. No, the author does not give finite details of how the Initiative would work, but that wasn't his job. This is a short outline article. It is our obligation to look deeper into it and support these type of programs. Not be cynical that it's a load of crap. It will only happen if it's supported.
So, turn that frown upside down Matt 1 and get out into the great outdoors.

Apr 16, 2010

I lov reading articles by people who would go down on the Prez. Who cares if this nothing more than words and a far cry from a real program?


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