News from the American Recreation Coalition
Following are highlights from the January/February issue of the American Recreation Coalition’s (ARC) newsletter:
SALLY JEWELL NAMED AS INTERIOR SECRETARY CHOICE
President Barack Obama will nominate Sally Jewell to serve as the next Secretary of the Interior. She is currently president and CEO of Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI), and an active leader of the recreation and conservation communities. She has been a strong supporter of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative, and worked with former Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne on efforts to boost funding for our national parks in conjunction with the 2016 centennial of the National Park Service. She is also a major supporter of the Western Governors Association’s Get Out West initiative.
NPS GEARS UP FOR CUTS
The Office of Management and Budget has directed all non-DOD federal departments to plan for a 5% mandatory spending reduction for the current fiscal year. This is the temporarily avoided “fiscal cliff” of Jan. 1 returning, but tempered from the original mandatory 8.2% cut which would have occurred then. National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis sent regional directors instructions to be transmitted to park superintendents outlining priorities for reducing spending.
BRIDGEBUILDER EVENT ON PARK FUNDING
On March 19, the Bipartisan Policy Center will join with the National Park Hospitality Association and the National Parks Conservation Association for a free, half-day “Bridgebuilder Session” to identify tools to aid America’s national parks in the 21st century and to prepare well-crafted proposals to the Congress and the Administration for making these tools available. Some of these tools will require new legislative authority – perhaps as part of legislation clarifying goals for the National Park Service in its second century of operation. Others may be achievable through new policies and regulations. Tools range from an earmarked penny in federal motorfuel taxes to revisions in park entrance fees, from increased use of historic tax credits to expanded volunteerism and philanthropy. Many of the tools would also benefit other federal lands.
EFFORTS TO ENHANCE CELL AND WI-FI SERVICE IN PARKS UNDERWAY
Efforts to enhance cell and internet availability in national parks continue as a result of discussions at Grand Thoughts at the Grand Canyon. While the NPS leadership team is fully supportive of this initiative, as are many park allies, the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has tried to distort this effort.
ARC MOVING OFFICE TO 1200 G STREET, NW
ARC will move its office on March 22 to Suite 650, 1200 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005. The new office location is right over the subway system’s Metro Center station and will continue to serve as the downtown gathering point for key recreation community coalition meetings and events. Our phone and fax numbers will be unchanged. ARC moved into its current office space 17 years ago. The move will enable ARC to update its technology and reduce its operating expenses. We plan to welcome all ARC members to the new office in conjunction with Great Outdoors Month 2013 – but feel free to drop by before then.
PARTNERS OUTDOORS UPDATE
Partners Outdoors 2013 will be held Feb. 19-21 at the National Conservation Training Center, about 90 minutes outside Washington, D.C., in Shepherdstown, W. Va. Participants from the private sector, federal agencies, state governments and the non-profit community will focus on three topics: (1) innovative funding for recreation investments and operations, including utilization of conservation corps; (2) serving international visitors to America’s Great Outdoors; and (3) integrating recreation and transportation programs within the MAP-21 structure and beyond. The stage will be set for each topic by a keynote presentation, followed by a panel of experts, followed by a Q&A session. Findings and recommendations will be presented by the participants to members of the Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation, the heads of federal agencies hosting more than a billion recreation visits annually, via a live video link.
GREAT OUTDOORS MONTH ACTIVITIES
June will be proclaimed Great Outdoors Month again in 2013, highlighting a growing number of recreation community initiatives occurring as summer turns the nation’s attention to our Great Outdoors. This year will be the 10th time a presidential proclamation will declare June as Great Outdoors Month, adding to a string of presidential proclamations of Great Outdoors Month and Week dating back to the Clinton Administration. In 2012, every governor proclaimed June as Great Outdoors Month. Plans for National Get Outdoors Day (GO Day), June 8, are going super this year – local partnership efforts are expanding and are helping connect tens of thousands of urban kids to fun outdoors.