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).
Secretary Salazar Hosts America's Great Outdoors Initiative Listening Session in Denver
Office of the Secretary
DENVER — Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today hosted a public listening session on how to better conserve our nation's land, water and wildlife and open up more opportunities for Americans to enjoy outdoor recreation.
The listening session, one of a series taking place across the country, is part of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative to address the pressures on our landscapes from population growth, habitat fragmentation, climate change and other threats by developing a conservation agenda worthy of the 21st century and reconnecting Americans with the great outdoors.
“Living in one of our country's most scenic areas, the people of Colorado have a deep love of the great outdoors and a strong conservation heritage,” Salazar said. “If we are going to develop an effective conservation agenda for the 21st century for our country, we must reach out to communities in Colorado and across our land to hear their ideas and to support their efforts to conserve our land, water and wildlife.”
“The America's Great Outdoors initiative will support a conservation agenda that builds on successes at the local level,” he said. “We are engaged in a national dialogue about conservation that will lead to greater support for the conservation efforts of private citizens and local communities.”
“Public and private conservation and natural resource stewardship are integral to the history, culture, and prosperity of Colorado,” said Harris Sherman, USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment. “We look forward to hearing in greater detail about the hard work happening in the area, because support for successful regional and local conservation efforts will be key as we chart a 21st century conservation agenda.”
President Obama inaugurated the America's Great Outdoors Initiative at the White House Conference on the Great Outdoors in April. The conference brought together leaders from communities across the country that are working to protect their outdoor spaces and focused on developing and supporting innovative ideas for improving conservation and recreation at the local level.
In a Presidential Memorandum, he called on the Secretaries of the Interior and of Agriculture, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality to lead the initiative, in coordination with the Departments of Defense, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Labor, Transportation, Education, and the Office of Management and Budget.
From coast to coast, ranchers, farmers, sportsmen, conservationists, state and local government leaders, tribal leaders, public lands experts, youth leaders, business representatives have been attending listening sessions to discuss the challenges, opportunities and innovations surrounding modern-day land conservation and the importance of reconnecting Americans to the outdoors.