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June 8 — A Fee-Free Day for National Lands

May 31, 2013 by · Comments Off on June 8 — A Fee-Free Day for National Lands 

Tom Tidwell

The U.S. Forest Service is offering a fee-free day on June 8 in celebration of National Get Outdoors Day, an annual event to encourage healthy, active outdoor fun.

The Forest Service offers fee-free four times a year. The first such fee-free period in 2013 was Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The other days are Sept. 28 for National Public Lands Day and Nov. 9-11 for Veterans Day Weekend, according to a news release.

“The country’s forests and grasslands beckon people from coast to coast to come hike, bike, fish and camp this weekend,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “A tank of gas can give you memories with family and friends that will last a lifetime. It’s worth the trip.”

Encouraging Americans to reconnect with nature, especially on public lands, is consistent with President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative that seeks to empower Americans to share in the responsibility to conserve, restore and provide better access to our lands and waters, and leave a healthy and vibrant outdoor legacy for generations to come. National Get Outdoors Day also supports Let’s Move Outside!, First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative to raise a healthier generation by engaging kids and families in active, outdoor recreation across public lands and waters.

“These special days are our way to encourage you to be a kid again, no matter your age or your level of outdoor experience,” said Joe Meade, director of the agency’s Recreation, Heritage and Volunteer Resources. “Public lands can help you de-stress from the office or build lifelong memories with your family.”

The pilot effort of National Get Outdoors Day was launched June 14, 2008, through a partnership between the Forest Service and the American Recreation Coalition. The partnership built on the success of More Kids in the Woods and other efforts to connect Americans – especially children – with nature and active lifestyles. Go Day, as it sometimes called, now includes federal, state and local agencies, key organizations and recreation businesses to create activities across the country.

Forest Service lands, which include 155 national forests and 20 national grasslands, offer something for everyone, from the casual hiker to the thrill-seeking recreationist. There also are opportunities and programs for children, from Discover the Forest that helps kids learn what to do outside to becoming a Junior Forest Ranger that comes with special access to the online “JFR Clubhouse.”

The programs, such as GO Day, are designed to reach all Americans, from those in rural, forest-dependent communities to those in diverse, under-served communities. More than 165 million people visited forests and grasslands and more than 6 million people participated in environmental education, recreation and related literacy programs in recent years.

Outdoor recreation benefits American society today more than ever. America spends $2 trillion dollars on crisis medical health care, and obesity and physical inactivity are major risk factors for chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Physical activity is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle, and outdoor recreation is the natural solution – a disease prevention solution – and part of the nation’s existing wellness infrastructure.

The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency also has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80% of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.

 

National Get Outdoors (GO) Day is June 9

June 6, 2012 by · Comments Off on National Get Outdoors (GO) Day is June 9 

Participants from federal agencies, nonprofit organizations and the recreation industry are again teaming up to host the 5th Annual National Get Outdoors Day (GO Day) on June 9 to encourage healthy, active outdoor fun at sites across the nation.

According to a press release, these diverse partners will offer opportunities for American families to experience traditional and non-traditional types of outdoor activities. Prime goals of the day are reaching currently underserved populations and first-time visitors to public lands, and reconnecting our youth to the great outdoors.

Each GO Day event will offer a mix of information centers and “active fun” areas – places where guests, and especially kids, can use a fishing pole, go geocaching, help pitch a tent and more. The sites will provide photo opportunities with characters like Smokey Bear, Woodsy Owl and other interesting creatures. Many sites also feature areas that focus on other aspects of healthy living, including sustainability and good nutrition.

In addition to the GO Day events, participants will be invited to nearby follow-up activities called EchO events occurring throughout the summer, which include introductions to mountain biking and fly-fishing, hikes with rangers to see wildlife, kayaking and rafting and much more.

The pilot effort of National Get Outdoors Day was launched on June 14, 2008. Last year, over 50 official GO Day sites across the nation from Anacostia Park in Washington, D.C., to the Big Bear Discovery Center in the San Bernardino National Forest in California welcomed thousands of new faces to the joy and benefits of the great outdoors.

Forest Service Promotes Get Outdoors Day Events

June 7, 2011 by · Comments Off on Forest Service Promotes Get Outdoors Day Events 

U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell is encouraging kids and their families to reconnect with nature and have fun by participating in the 4th Annual National Get Outdoors Day, Saturday ( June 11).

The event, known as “GO Day,” is an effort to attract new, diverse communities to outdoor activities and to motivate kids to explore their national forests and other public lands, according to a news release.

“GO day provides a great opportunity for kids big and small to get up close and personal with our country’s amazing forests and grasslands,” said Tidwell. “As the school year comes to a close, it’s time to get out and enjoy America’s wondrous lands and waterways. These early activities help bring families together, create lasting memories and instill a lifelong appreciation for our natural surroundings.”

The U.S. Forest Service has a bounty of children’s programs to help connect children to their natural environment, all of which support two key priorities of the Obama administration:

  • President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative that seeks to connect people to the outdoors and creates partnerships between the federal government and American communities on conservation issues.
  • The Let’s Move! Outside campaign launched by First Lady Michelle Obama, which strives to offset childhood obesity through outdoor activities and healthier lifestyles. The agency also has collaborated with the Ad Council to develop a new national campaign of public service announcements to “Re-connect Kids with Nature.”

Nationwide, more than 80 U.S. Forest Service locations will be providing free recreational and educational activities. Many events are designed to better engage urban and multicultural youth in nature-based activities and attract first-time visitors to public lands.

National signature events will take place at locations listed below and were selected based on impressive partnership initiatives generating a large array of innovative and interactive activities and a significant number of expected participants:

  • Kingman Island in Washington, D.C.
  • Denver City Park in Denver, Colo.
  • National Children’s Forest in San Bernardino, Calif.
  • Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, Minn.
  • Canyon Rim Park in Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Water Resources Education Center in Vancouver, Wash.

For a listing of all events, visit: http://www.nationalgetoutdoorsday.org/locations/. For more information on local activities, contact your nearest Forest Service location.

Hickory Hill Part of Get Outdoors Day Initiative

June 6, 2011 by · Comments Off on Hickory Hill Part of Get Outdoors Day Initiative 

Hickory Hill promotional poster for National Get Outdoors Day.

Hickory Hill Family Camping Resort in Bath, N.Y., will host an event on Saturday (June 11) as part of National Get Outdoors Day (GO Day), one of many campgrounds to do so in this second annual event to encourage healthy, active outdoor fun.

Participating partners will offer opportunities for American families to experience traditional and non-traditional types of outdoor activities. Prime goals of the day are reaching first-time visitors to public lands and reconnecting our youth to the great outdoors, according to a news release.

This GO Day event will offer a mix of information centers and active fun at areas and places where guests, and especially kids, can hike, geocache, swim, play mini golf, take nature walks, free mini sessions from the Finger Lakes Wellness Center and more. Special guests include Greg Muller from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), members of the Finger Lakes Trail and other outdoor enthusiast.

The pilot effort of National Get Outdoors Day was launched on June 14, 2008, and has grown every year. Building on the success of More Kids in the Woods and other important efforts to connect Americans – and especially children – with nature and active lifestyles, the USDA Forest Service (USFS) and the American Recreation Coalition (ARC) led an inclusive, nationwide effort focusing on a single day when people would be inspired and motivated to get outdoors. Last year, over 91 official GO Day sites across the nation from Kingman island in Washington, D.C. to the Big Bear Discovery Center in the San Bernardino National Forest welcomed tens of thousands of new faces to the joy and benefits of the great outdoors.

Great Outdoors Week Activities Aired

May 10, 2011 by · Comments Off on Great Outdoors Week Activities Aired 

Planning is well under way for another eventful Great Outdoors Week, the American Recreation Coalition’s (ARC) annual celebration of outdoor recreation and its important contributions to the well-being of the American people and their communities.

According to a press release, the week begins with the observance of National Get Outdoors (GO) Day on June 11 and will include special events showcasing key recreation programs and recognizing the outstanding efforts being undertaken across the country to improve outdoor recreation experiences. Great Outdoors Week is one of the focal points of Great Outdoors Month, proclaimed nationwide by the president and by state governors in every state throughout the U.S.

The GO-Day launch of Great Outdoors Week will be marked at more than 100 sites where the public – especially young people – will be invited to enjoy different recreation activities and learn about additional, easily accessible recreation opportunities.

The U.S. Forest Service will celebrate GO-Day as Fee Free Day, waiving fees on millions of acres of national forests. And dozens of marina operators celebrating National Marina Day on June 11 will welcome thousands of visitors to these family-friendly gateways to wonderful boating experiences.

Programs featured during Great Outdoors Week will include: the Obama administration’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to link the American people to their magnificent public lands; the Let’s Move Outside campaign launched by first lady Michelle Obama to combat childhood obesity; the ED OUT partnership program to encourage outdoor learning and fun; and the Recreational Trails Program, which serves as the foundation for state trail programs all across the country.

Great Outdoors Week will also include several different award ceremonies recognizing individual and collective achievements within the recreation community. The Coalition for Recreational Trails will salute outstanding trail programs and projects funded by the federal Recreational Trails Program. ARC will present its Legends Awards to exceptional individuals from seven federal agencies whose personal efforts have led to substantial improvements in outdoor recreation resources and management. ARC’s Beacon Awards will recognize the innovative use of technology in visitor services and recreation management on public lands. And, finally, the Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award – the recreation community’s most prestigious award – will recognize the leadership, vision and accomplishments of one extraordinary individual whose personal commitment to the value and importance of recreation has contributed significantly to the welfare of the American people.

“Great Outdoors Week gives us a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the people, places and programs that bring healthy outdoor fun to millions of Americans every day of the year,” said ARC President Derrick Crandall. “They really put the ‘Great’ into the Great Outdoors.”

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