America’s Great Outdoors Report
Summary by the Izaak Walton League of America
On February 16, 2011, President Obama released the final report of his America’s Great Outdoors initiative. The report outlines a 21st century vision for conservation in America that encompasses public and private lands, places a renewed emphasis on urban parks, prioritizes our waters as recreational and community resources, and commits to long-term investment in conservation and outdoor recreation.
Some of the report’s major recommendations address key League priorities and issues, including
- Fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million annually.
- Protecting working lands, including our farms, by supporting investments that conserve these lands and natural resources.
- Boosting outdoor recreation, including by supporting initiatives that provide access to private land for hunting and fishing and placing renewed emphasis on tapping our rivers and streams for their recreational potential.
- Connecting children and young people to the outdoors, hunting and fishing, and conservation.
The report is the product of an initiative that began in April 2010. Throughout 2010, the administration solicited input from the American people about the future of conservation. More than 10,000 people attended 51 listening sessions nationwide and more than 105,000 comments were submitted through the America’s Great Outdoors Web site. This input and participation helped to identify key issues and informed specific recommendations in the report.
The League and our members participated in the listening sessions and commented through the public process. The report is a very encouraging step forward with specific recommendations to address pressing problems and capitalize on new conservation opportunities. Although the League may not endorse every recommendation or action step, the report provides a good road map for the future. The challenge will be implementing the recommendations. Some can be achieved relatively simply and for little or no cost. Others are more complex, will take more time, and require investment. The League looks forward to working with the administration, Congress, and our partners in the hunting, angling, and conservation communities to implement components of the report and achieve on-the-ground results.
The following is a general overview of the major issues and recommendations addressed in the report.