America's Great Outdoors Initiative

2012 Progress Report

On December 4, 2012, the Obama Administration released the 2012 America's Great Outdoors Progress Report, detailing key successes of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, including advancing local conservation priorities, expanding access to lands and waters for recreation, restoring critical landscapes, and creating great urban parks and water trails in American communities. 

The full text of the 2012 America's Great Outdoors Progress Report can be found here.

The Launch of the America's Great Outdoors Initiative

On February 15, 2011, President Barack Obama announced the America's Great Outdoors Report, the Administration's action plan under the America's Great Outdoors initiative to achieve lasting conservation of the outdoor spaces that power our nation's economy, shape our culture, and build our outdoor traditions.

The report released outlines ways in which the Federal Government will help empower local communities to accomplish their conservation and recreation priorities by recognizing that the best ideas come from outside of Washington. In the summer of 2010, senior Administration officials held 51 listening sessions across the country to gather input from Americans about the outdoor places and activities that they value most. These sessions drew more than 10,000 participants and more than 105,000 written comments, used to inform the America’s Great Outdoors Report, which when implemented will result in:

  • Accessible parks or green spaces for our children.
  • A new generation of great urban parks and community green spaces.
  • Newly-restored river restorations and recreational “blueways” that power economic revitalization in communities.
  • Stronger support for farmers, ranchers, and private landowners that help protect rural landscapes and provide access for recreation.
  • The reinvestment of revenues from oil and gas extraction into the permanent protection of parks, open spaces, wildlife habitat, and access for recreational activities.
  • A 21st century conservation ethic that builds on local ideas and solutions for environmental stewardship and connecting to our historic, cultural, and natural heritage.

The full text of the America's Great Outdoors Report can be found here.

2011 Progress Report

On October 12, 2011, the Obama Administration released  the 2011 America's Great Outdoors Progress Report , in which 15 federal agencies outlined their combined conservation and recreation successes, including gains in youth employment, new trail designations, the creation of urban campgrounds, and historic investments in large landscapes such as the Everglades.

In addition to social, cultural and historic value, the America's Great Outdoors Progress Report details how America's outdoors provide vital jobs and economic benefits to communities across the country.

The full text of the 2011 America's Great Outdoors Progress Report can be found here.

White House Conference on Conservation

On March 2, 2012, President Obama and members of his Cabinet convened the White House Conference on Conservation to engage directly with conservation leaders from all 50 states to strengthen partnerships and identify next steps in advancing community-driven conservation and outdoor recreation initiatives. The conference, titled Growing America's Outdoor Heritage and Economy, brought together hundreds of boaters, hunters, anglers, farmers, ranchers, land conservationists, historic preservationists, outdoor recreationists, small business owners, local governments, tribal leaders and other key stakeholders from around the nation to meet with Obama administration officials to discuss issues surrounding conservation in urban cities and rural communities.

Click here to read a fact sheet on the Obama administration's conservation record.

Watch President Obama speak at the White House Conference on Conservation.

Background on the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative

In April, 2010, President Barack Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum establishing the America's Great Outdoors Initiative to promote and support innovative community-level efforts to conserve outdoor spaces and to reconnect Americans to the outdoors.

The Memorandum called on the Secretaries of the Interior and of Agriculture, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) 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 to develop a 21st century conservation agenda that builds on successes in communities across the country, and starts a national dialogue about enjoying America's great outdoors.

In addition, the President has made it clear that one of his priorities is to engage young people, especially those who live in our Nation's cities, and to find ways to get them to go outdoors to experience America's unique natural heritage. 

The full text of the Memorandum can be found here.

Join the conversation and learn more at the America's Great Outdoors website.