Secretary Salazar urges government not to forget urban parks, rural gems, youth’s importance

Secretary Salazar urges National Recreation and Parks Association to remember urban parks, rural landscapes, rivers and America’s young people in Congressional meetings. SNEWS was there to listen in.

Ken Salazar, secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, told 2011 National Recreation and Parks Association legislative forum attendees March 16 not to overlook the importance of urban parks, rural landscapes, rivers and what America’s youth can do for the country. As a part of his appeal, he asked for full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

“I can tell you, there are some people up there who think we are crazy when we talk about investing this type of money in conservation and land acquisition,” Salazar told approximately 300 professionals representing 150 park and recreation agencies in 41 states. “So, we need your help.”

He explained how he had testified before Congress four times in the previous week with appeals similar to the one he presented to them – all asking for full funding to support healthy, livable communities. Salazar also presented them with four key ideas from the America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) Report to remember as they met with their legislators on Capitol Hill.

America’s Great Outdoor Report, which was issued February 2011, included the points he highlighted in his presentation:

  • Creating the next generation of great urban parks for America. Salazar referenced the cohesive urban park being designed at the base St. Louis Gateway Arch to illustrate its application in other areas of the country. When completed, the park will, for the first time, create open space along the Mississippi River in East St. Louis to connect the historic Dred Scott Courthouse and the renovated Gateway Arch now separated by I-70. Salazar said he thinks this kind of ingenuity will help improve New York City’s 27,000 acres of national parks. He said he and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg have agreed to develop a joint plan between the Department of the Interior, the National Park Service and the City of New York to connect the city’s land assets, which includes $3 billion recently allocated by the city for waterfront improvements.

  • Preserving the rural landscapes of America. Salazar said uniting the country’s rural lands fragmented by political boundaries is essential for preserving a key part of the nation’s heritage. As an example, he pointed to successful multi-state landscape conservation cooperatives and used the recent establishment of the 1.1-million acre national conservation area of tall-grass prairies on Kansas’ Flint Well Hills.
  • Focusing on American rivers. Salazar pointed to the Great Outdoors Colorado Amendment's successful restoration of 60 miles of the Platt River and how that made it accessible for recreation, education, and community building. He said he believes similar projects could be implemented along other rivers in the United States. Salazar chaired this project while director of Colorado’s Department of Natural Resources.
  • Involving young people in America’s conservation efforts. Salazar said he believes the 21st century Conservation Service Corps, which hired 21,000 young people in 2010, will help cure the rising generation’s “nature deficit disorder.” These much-needed jobs will also help young people feel invested in the conservation agenda.

Salazar said he hoped for a politically and “socially inclusive” conservation agenda in Congress.

“Conservation ought not to be a Democratic, Republican or Independent idea,” he said. “There ought not to be blue states or red states when we talk about conservation and recreation. It ought to be an American idea that unifies the country.”

- Elizabeth O. Hurst


OIA Praises Selection of Salazar as Interior Secretary

Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) today applauded the nomination of U.S. Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO) as the next Secretary of the Department of Interior. Senator Salazar has been a strong advocate for many years for the millions of Americans who recreate on public lands. As a more

The Outdoor Foundation Applauds Secretary of Interior Salazar

The Outdoor Foundation today applauded the creation of a new Office of Youth by Secretary of Interior Salazar. The new office will coordinate a department-wide youth program to introduce young Americans from all backgrounds to the beauty, values and importance of our national more


Outdoor industry urges federal government to protect Greater Canyonlands area, avoid unbalanced spending cuts

More than 100 outdoor-related businesses have signed onto an Outdoor Industry Association letter to Barack Obama, urging the President of the United States to protect about 1.4 million acres in southern Utah, known as the Greater Canyonlands, by declaring the land a national more


Government Shutdown: Outdoor industry urged to take action

There’s no good time for a government shutdown, but Congress chose to shut things down during the primetime for fall outdoor recreation. Leaf peepers and wildlife viewers are being shut out of their favorite national parks, and the flood-ravaged communities surrounding Rocky more


Majora Carter urges companies to invest in urban outdoor development

Throughout the next month, SNEWS will recap its coverage of Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2013 with select stories from the O.R. Daily we published at the show Jan. 23-26. It’s an opportunity for you to catch up on stories you might have missed in O.R.D., and for us to update more

AW Meets with Salazar about win-win solutions for Colorado River

Leaders from American Whitewater and the Colorado River Outfitters Association traveled to our Nations capital today to present an engraved kayak paddle to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to recognize his leadership in finding win-win solutions for the Colorado River. The more


President Obama to nominate REI's Sally Jewell for secretary of the interior

The outdoor industry is abuzz with the news that one of its own, REI Chief Executive Sally Jewell, is set to become the 51st Secretary of the Department of the Interior. President Barack Obama is scheduled to announce Jewell's nomination today at 2 p.m., Eastern time. Details of more


Outdoor Nation Youth Summit 2010: On-the-scene sights, sounds offer a peek at youth ready to champion the outdoors

More than 500 youth from around the country sat together at the first Outdoor Nation Youth Summit in New York’s Central Park June 19-20 to hammer out ideas about how to get more people outside, active and healthier. SNEWS® was there to find out first-hand about the enthusiastic more

Secretary of Agriculture Promotes Rural Economies

Blog from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack: As chair of the recently established White House Rural Council, I want to make sure you take a look at a new web page that went live on the White House Champions of Change website. It is focused on the meeting that was held at the more