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 Joins Senator Bingaman, Administration Officials at America's Great Outdoors Initiative Listening Session in Albuquerque
Office of the Secretary
ALBUQUERQUE — Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today joined Senator Jeff Bingaman, Agriculture Under Secretary Harris Sherman and other administration officials at a public listening session today as part of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative to develop a conservation agenda for the 21st century.
The listening session, one of a series taking place across the country, offers citizens the opportunities to share what they are doing in their communities to better conserve our nation's land, water and wildlife and open up more opportunities for Americans to enjoy outdoor recreation.
“Across America, our land, water, and wildlife are under pressure from population growth, habitat fragmentation, climate change and other threats,” Salazar said. “With their deep connections to the land, the people of New Mexico have much to contribute to the national dialogue as we develop a 21st century conservation agenda and reconnect Americans to the great outdoors.”
“New Mexico is home to of some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. Because of this, New Mexicans have a unique understanding and appreciation of the outdoors. I hope that many people take advantage of this opportunity to share their ideas with Secretary Salazar,” said Bingaman, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
“Public and private conservation and natural resource stewardship are integral to the history, culture, and prosperity of New Mexico,” 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.