America's Great OutdoorsIn 2010, President Obama launched the America's Great Outdoors (AGO) initiative to develop a "21st Century conservation and recreation strategy." Through a Presidential Memorandum, the President charged the Secretaries of the Departments of Interior and Agriculture, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality to develop the agenda. Key goals of the initiative are:
- Provide quality jobs, career pathways, and service opportunities;
- Enhance recreational access and opportunities;
- Raise awareness of the value and benefits of America's great outdoors;
- Engage young people in conservation and the great outdoors;
- Strengthen the Land and Water Conservation Fund;
- Establish great urban parks and community green spaces;
- Conserve rural working farms, ranches, and forests through partnerships and incentives;
- Conserve and restore our federal lands and waters; and
- Protect and renew rivers and other waters.
In November 2011, the Department of the Interior released a listing of projects in all 50 states of the U.S. BLM is involved with more than a dozen of the projects summarized below. Links are to news releases from the Department of the Interior with more details on each project.
ARIZONA: Rio Salado River Pathways Program -- A collaborative effort among BLM, the Audubon Arizona, and the Phoenix Union High School District introduced students to Arizona's native habitats. Students are trained at the Rio Slalado Audubon Center and conduct field studies at Agua Fria National Monument.
ARIZONA: Lake Havasu National Bluewater Trail System -- BLM, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Reclamation and local partners plan an effort to develop a National Water Trail along the lakeshore at Lake Havasu. BLM already has an extensive network of boating camps at Lake Havasu; this project would build on that with help from the Youth Conservation Corps.
COLORADO: Yampa River Basin Project -- BLM is working the the State of Colorado and other federal and local partners to conserve the Yampa River Basin in northwestern Colorado. Building on recent successes in creating conservation easements and the creation of Yampa River State Park, the effort is designed to spur tourism, recreation, jobs, and greater public use.
IDAHO: Owyhee Land Exchange -- BLM and the State of Idaho are working on a potential land exchange to create a more contiguous wilderness and potentially more revenue for state trust lands.
IDAHO: Boise River Greenbelt -- This urban park would extend the pathways on both sides of the Boise River to 63 miles to the confluence of the Snake and Boise Rivers.
MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA: John Smith Water Trail -- A 3,000 mile "blueway" trail will follow the historic water routes of Captain John Smith. BLM manages sites on both sides of the Potomac River, a key part of the proposed trail.
MONTANA: Crown of the Continent -- The proposed conservation area would preserve ecosystems and a strong cultural identity. Strategic use of conservation easements would link existing protected areas and preserve wildlife corridors and the ranching culture of the region.
NEVADA: Lorenzi Park-- This 90 acre part is one of the oldest parks in the city of Las Vegas. The park hosts a variety of cultural events, but more funds are needed to restore the lake shoreline and upgrade other park amenities. BLM and the City of Las Vegas are working together to use funding from the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act.
NEVADA: Colorado River Heritage Greenway Park and Trails -- The Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service, BLM, and Clark County, Arizona are working together to complete a 7-mile trail.
OREGON: Table Rocks -- BLM, the Nature Conservancy, the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, and Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde have been working to preserve this special place in the Rogue Valley of Oregon. The partners have recently signed an agreement to coordinate resources and pursue funding to help protect the area, which features twin volcanic buttes that rise above the north bank of the Rogue River.
BLM has been active in the creation of the Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation (FICOR), a coordinating organization of the seven federal partners in America's Great Outdoors. FICOR works closely with other organizations that support recreational activities, including the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council, the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council, the First Lady's "Let's Move" Intitiative, and the President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. For more information on FICOR, select this link.