Obama unveils America’s Great Outdoors report

It’s hardly fair to berate the President of the United States for being late. The speech scheduled for 4:45 EST in the East Room of the White House didn’t get underway until well past the top of the hour. But for what its worth his report on America’s Great Outdoors Initiative arrives just in the nick of time. Through more than 10 months of outreach, research and planning the Obama administration tapped the leading minds in outdoor recreation and wilderness conservation to create a new plan. “And together, we’ve laid the foundation for a smarter, more community-driven environmental strategy,” the President said.

Introduced to the podium by Recreational Equipment Inc, president and CEO Sally Jewell, Obama was flanked by several preservation stakeholders.  High profile heads of companies and interest groups that support the AGO initiative include Sam Solomon of the Coleman Company, John Tomke of Ducks Unlimited, Troy Uentillie of the Navaho Nation and the Sherman BIE School and Rebecca Wodder, president of American Rivers. Clearly with such heavy hitters to back it the AGO initiative stands an excellent chance of success. But the President emphasized in his speech that all citizens must become involved in the defense of our most precious national treasures.

“It embodies that uniquely American idea,” Obama said, “that each of us has an equal share in the land around us, and an equal responsibility to protect it.”

Brief in his remarks the President was short on specific details outlined in the AGO report. In fact, the 111-page document available online is not as yet a plan so much as it is a clear presentation of goals and recommendations to achieve the long term security of designated wilderness areas and green spaces throughout the United States. With an emphasis the creation of jobs, urban recreation development, the engagement of young people and funding conservation programs the report provides a summary of benchmarks to strive toward.

In the coming months and years these objectives will hopefully be realized through the direct efforts of institutions and individuals dedicated to environmental preservation. Next effective schemes must be devised to empower the populous as a whole to embrace the principles of conservation and work collectively to make the protection of wilderness a priority. And in the end the President said we must inspire new a generation of young Americas to make better choices for their future. “They’ll help carry forth our legacy as a people who don’t just make decisions based on short-term gains of any one group,” Obama said, “but on what’s best for the entire nation in the long run.”

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I’m a freelance journalist that specializes in telling stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living.