America's Great Outdoors Comment Highlights

General Comments:

  • “This is long overdue, and deeply appreciated.  I love the focus on and priority on conserving water and land AND getting people out to recreate in it.  The working lands piece is critical, too.”
  • “I have never seen this kind of support at such a high level for sensible conservation.”
  • “I have not seen anything like this commitment to start a conservation movement since perhaps the first Earth Day.  Please keep this going – talking, listening, and inspiring people to bring their ideas to the table.  I will never forget this day. Thank you.”

What are the most critical conservation challenges facing our nation today?

  • “Making sure we have another generation ready and waiting to take over as stewards of our lands – and making sure we leave them natural resources worth inheriting.”
  • “The public is uninformed about the existence of our public lands system, and therefore is not enjoying the many benefits of recreation or stewardship.  To address this, we should develop a public information campaign similar to ‘Smokey the Bear’ or the ‘Crying Indian’ that showcases America’s public lands and the diversity of people who connect with them.”
  • “The fragmentation of wildlife corridors, especially in light of climate change; and, the protection of clean air, water, topsoil, and safe food sources.”
  • “We need to create more parks, trails, and open space in proximity to urban areas.  Too many children don’t have access to safe places to play, ride their bikes, or just goof around.”
  • “Conserving watersheds and water resources.  Water sustains life and is threatened by climate change, urban development, and certain agricultural practices.  We must adopt a sustainable watershed strategy that protects high value fish and wildlife habitat; reconnects fish passages and corridors; and increases funding for federal restoration programs.”

What are the best strategies to address these challenges?

  • “Get the next generation involved by listening to them and helping them to become ambassadors of the outdoors.  In addition, we must support grassroots efforts and conservation volunteerism.”
  • “We must bring new voices into conservation – voices that might not make traditional conservationists comfortable, such as rock stars, community activists, industry leaders, and other spokespeople who resonate with people who feel that conservation is for places they will never see.”
  • “We must provide robust and stable federal funding for landscape conservation.  In addition, we should engage citizens, particularly youth, in environmental stewardship and outdoor activities to reconnect them to nature.  Finally, we must enhance public access to the great outdoors.”
  • “Make sure that people of color and youth are exposed to pathways of true leadership and sustainability.  Social media is one way to build community and reach audiences of scale with relative ease.”