A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Salazar Establishes Enduring America's Great Outdoors Program at Interior Department
Secretarial Order Formalizes Ongoing Conservation, Outdoor Recreation Efforts
WASHINGTON -- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today signed a Secretarial Order establishing the America's Great Outdoors program in the Department of the Interior, formalizing the department's support for President Obama's landmark initiative to create a 21st century conservation and recreation ethic to reconnect Americans, especially young people, with the natural world.
“From conserving working landscapes from Montana to Florida, to creating a new generation of dynamic and accessible urban parks from New York to Los Angeles, to establishing a network of national water trails and blueways, we have worked closely for the last three years with states, local communities and other partners to preserve America's natural heritage and open up more opportunities for outdoor recreation,” Salazar said. “By formally establishing the America's Great Outdoors program, we are ensuring that these efforts have high standing and visibility within the department and continue to be a high priority for years to come.”
President Obama launched the America's Great Outdoors initiative in 2010, focusing on making the federal government a better partner with states, tribes and local communities to support community-driven conservation and outdoor recreation efforts.
The Secretarial Order identifies projects in all 50 states that the department will help leverage its resources to get over the finish line, including conserving working landscapes; restoring rivers; and helping to create a new generation of urban parks.
Salazar also signed secretarial orders this year establishing a network of National Water Trails and the National Blueways System to conserve and promote outdoor recreation on key rivers.
“The America's Great Outdoors program plays a key role in strengthening our nation's economy, with tourism and outdoor recreation serving as huge economic engines in local communities,” said Salazar. “We have accomplished much, but there is much yet to be done, and today's action will help to ensure that the vision of supporting locally-led conservation initiatives will endure at Interior.”
A recent report by the Outdoor Industry Association revealed that outdoor recreation and conservation directly support 6.1 million jobs across the nation and $646 billion in direct consumer spending each year.
The secretarial order signed today can be downloaded here.