America's Great Outdoors (AGO) is an initiative to develop a 21st century approach to conservation and outdoor recreation. AGO brings together many federal agencies to work together with state and local partners across the country.
AGO consists of three major pillars:
1. Connecting Americans to the Great Outdoors.
A study of our nation's rich history reveals the vital role the outdoors has played in defining who we are as a people and as a country. From lakes and rivers to forests and mountains, the outdoors has served not only as a place for Americans to create lasting memories, but also as a conduit for economic growth and job development. However, Americans today, and especially children, have become increasingly disconnected from nature, a serious threat facing Americans and the great outdoors. Studies show that spending time in nature benefits physical and mental health, academic performance, and overall quality of life. Furthermore, the outdoor industry currently supports 6.1 million American jobs and $646 billion in outdoor recreation spending each year. And Americans across the nation made it clear that they want to reconnect—or connect for the first time—with the great outdoors. They expressed the desire to achieve this through jobs, service, recreation and education, and they want the federal government to be a facilitator.
2. Conserving and Restoring America's Great Outdoors.
AGO celebrates America's legacy of environmental protection even as a new chapter in American conservation emerges. And parts of this new chapter are new challenges to conservation and restoration. We live in a complex world with new technologies and avenues of communication, changing demographics, and restrained government budgets. Consequently, in our work to rebuild urban parks and community green spaces, conserve our working lands, protect our rivers, and steward our public lands, AGO aims to more effectively align and leverage resources to advance community-driven conservation efforts.
3. Working Together for America's Great Outdoors.
Americans have called for better collaboration between the public and private sectors; state, local, and tribal governments; and between local communities and the federal government to help citizens realize the wide-ranging benefits of a revitalized connection to the outdoors. AGO is working to improve coordination among federal agencies and establish meaningful partnerships that enable communities to achieve more collectively than they could individually.