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Outdoor Alliance Provides Perspectives on America's Great Outdoors

2010-08-27 / Adam Cramer

Earlier this spring we were honored to represent the human-powered outdoor recreation community at the White House Conference on America’s Great Outdoors (AGO). From our perspective, President Obama’s AGO memorandum evidenced a sea change in how our nation will approach our outdoor resources. First, the AGO Initiative boldly takes into account all communities (from young to mature, rural to urban, and people from all backgrounds and cultures) and all lands (state and federal, public and private, pristine and working) and creates the expectation that ownership, jurisdiction and community differences aside, the paths to better connect Americans to the outdoors must be found. Second, the AGO Initiative recognizes that while the federal government can help facilitate an enhanced connection to the outdoors, it certainly cannot do it alone and the best polices to enable these connections will arise from the grassroots, from the public. The ambitious Listening Session tour this summer attests to the President’s commitment to generate input for the AGO Initiative from the ground up.

We have been actively engaged in the national dialogue on the future of conservation and connecting Americans to the Outdoors by encouraging our community to actively take part in the Administration's listening sessions across the country. In addition we partnered with Outdoor Industry Association on a series of eight "Homegrown Listening Sessions" across the country in communities important to the human-powered outdoor recreation community.

We have produced two documents summarizing the results of our dialogue with members of our community.

The first is our Top Ideas from Outdoor Alliance which are also posted on the Administration's Idea Jam under the follow topics: Tools , Federal Government Role , What Works , and Challenges. You can login to the Idea Jam and vote for these ideas or include some of your own.

The second document is a report from our "Homegrown Listening Sessions" Report. The document includes detailed notes on what leaders in our community had to say in response to the four key questions posed by the Administration. We have provided some perspectives on specific policy recommendations in response to what we heard.

Our American heritage is tied strongly to outdoor places and we have discovered impassioned and enthusiastic voices across the country in appreciation of the administration’s grassroots initiative. After designing and conducting our Homegrown Listening Sessions across the country and also having the opportunity to summarize what we learned, we are even more convinced that the AGO Initiative’s approach to better connecting the American people to their great outdoor spaces sets just the right tone for developing a conservation policy for the 21st century.

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