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Home arrowNews arrowDeveloping a 21st Century Conservation Agenda - America's Great Outdoors Initiative report issued

Developing a 21st Century Conservation Agenda - America's Great Outdoors Initiative report issued

On Feb. 16, President Obama unveiled the report titled "America's Great Outdoors: A Promise to Future Generations" at a White House ceremony. The ACHP was involved in development of the report and will play a role in its implementation to help weave cultural heritage and recognition for historic places into key parts of the program.

Major objectives of the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative are to:

  • Promote outdoor recreation;
  • Advance job and volunteer opportunities related to conservation and outdoor recreation;
  • Educate and engage Americans in our natural, cultural, and historical resources;
  • Promote locally-led or community-based conservation that builds upon state, tribal, local, and private priorities;
  • Restore and conserve federal lands and waters; and
  • Develop science-based tools that directly contribute to the conservation and management of lands and waters or the provision of recreational activities.

In a Presidential Memorandum issued in April 2010 the President charged the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality with  developing a 21st century conservation agenda that builds on community-led efforts and innovative ideas from throughout the country. 

Read the America’s Great Outdoors report and the President’s remarks.

A special emphasis was placed on engaging youth in the process, as well as reaching out to underserved and diverse constituencies in the process.

The final report contains much of value and interest to the historic preservation community. As ACHP Chairman Wayne Donaldson has observed, “All landscapes have a historical and a cultural context, and our appreciation for the outdoors is rooted in both the natural environment and the history, stories, and traditions associated with special places. Indian tribes, Native Hawaiians, and Alaska Natives have always been quite clear about this interrelationship. If we wish to reinforce the connection between people and the outdoors, it makes sense to make the most of this potential.”

The ACHP will play a role in implementation of the program by participating on policy teams and working groups, and finding ways to highlight the goals of AGO in the ACHP’s own work. Several sections of the report, especially Chapter 8, contain recommendations that address cultural heritage conservation and historic preservation needs, including new congressional designations of important lands and places; cultural resource stewardship on federal lands; and support for state, tribal, and community historic preservation efforts, national heritage areas, and battlefield preservation.

Read the America’s Great Outdoors report and the President’s remarks.

Updated February 24, 2011