Get Outside: New White House Report Sets Conservation, Recreation Agenda

President Obama unveiled a new, community-driven conservation and recreation agenda to better protect America’s Great Outdoors and connect children to nature. The agenda was shaped by an unprecedented national conversation, including listening sessions across the country, about the best future for America’s water, wild lands, wildlife and important landmarks.

In response Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune issued the following statement.

“We applaud President Obama’s plan to help all Americans reclaim and reconnect with our nation’s incredible outdoor heritage. Spending time in nature, whether it’s the Grand Canyon or a city park, is essential to our quality of life. It reduces stress, restores our spirits, and improves our health. For kids, getting outdoors can improve academic and behavioral performance — and nurture the next generation of conservation leaders.

We’re also pleased the administration has based this plan on input from local communities about their needs. People want more jobs in conservation, more areas for recreation, more protections for public lands, more outdoor education, and more places where their kids can play. This plan uses smart funding from existing sources like oil and gas leases to help make all of those things possible.

We have a responsibility to protect wildlife and wild places and to leave a better world for future generations. As this plan recognizes, that means changing how we think about conservation. We must broaden our vision to encompass whole forests, mountain ranges, and watersheds. Setting aside disconnected areas where development is restricted will no longer be enough to ensure that plants, animals, and people will be able to access and enjoy a changing environment. In the 21st century, conservation must focus on complete natural systems, with connecting corridors that allow our lands and wildlife to adapt to a warming world. 

Coming up with the right plan is just a beginning though. Now we call on the administration to use all the tools at its disposal — creating parks, wilderness areas, and national monuments — to make this plan a reality and to protect the outdoor legacy of all Americans.”

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