Senior Administration Officials Join Senator Alexander at America's Great Outdoors Initiative Listening Session in Nashville

Last edited 09/29/2021

NASHVILLE, TN — Senior administration officials today joined Senator Lamar Alexander and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean at a public listening session 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 opportunity to share what they are doing in their communities to better conserve our nation's land, water and wildlife, as well as to explore more opportunities for Americans to enjoy outdoor recreation.

Fish and Wildlife and Parks Deputy Assistant Secretary Will Shafroth, Department of Interior Senior Advisor to the Secretary Bob Stanton, USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Harris Sherman and CEQ Associate Director for Policy Outreach Amy Salzman also attended the listening session.

“Just as President Theodore Roosevelt did for the 20th century, President Obama is engaging America in a dialogue on how to create a conservation legacy for the 21st century while encouraging Americans to reconnect with the great outdoors,” said Will Shafroth, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. “The heart of the initiative is to support what communities across the country are already doing for conservation.”

“The Great American Outdoors is not about policy or politics,” said Sen. Alexander, the senior Republican on the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, which is responsible for funding national parks and forests. “It is about the air we breathe, the fish we catch, the trails we hike, the mountains we admire and the way we live. This listening session is a great way to gather ideas to preserve and create outdoor opportunities for the next generation of Tennesseans.”

“Public and private land conservation and natural resource stewardship are integral to the history, culture, and prosperity of Tennessee,” said Harris Sherman, USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment. “We need to hear and learn in greater detail about the successful work happening in the region. Successful regional and local conservation efforts such as the ones charted here in Tennessee are key as we craft a 21st century conservation agenda.”

“On our listening tour across America we are hearing about many creative ways communities are joining together to protect the places they love most,” said Amy Salzman, Associate Director for Policy Outreach at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “These perspectives will be central to our report to the President later this fall.”

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.

For more information on the America's Great Outdoors Initiative, please visit:

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