Choose Outdoors and The North Face Join Forces with US Forest Service to Launch Recreation Framework at Historic Conference on Sustainable Outdoor Recreation and Tourism
March 1, 2010
The US Forest Service, working with Choose Outdoors, a national nonprofit focused on "Connecting all Americans to the Land thru Outdoor Recreation", recently launched a new era of public/private partnerships at a conference held in Juneau, Alaska.
According to Choose Outdoors Bruce Ward,"This gathering of a wide spectrum of federal, state and local outdoor recreation interests will be remembered as a critical step in recognizing the growing importance of outdoor recreation as central to the future of a more relevant and engaged US Forest Service".
The three day event was hosted by the Alaska Region of the Forest Service and included keynote speakers and presenters Ruth Monahan, Acting Regional Forester; Kirk Hoessle a champion of sustainable eco-tourism principles and Don Hunger from the Student Conservation Association, an internationally renowned nonprofit focused on increasing the numbers of diverse youth interested in natural resource careers by putting them to work on the ground with a variety of land managers and Brook Shinsky, Outdoor Participation Manager for The North Face.
The conference provided opportunities to build on the messages of the recently released Forest Service Recreation Framework and develop specific actions to carry the Framework forward.
Among the recommendations for action:
Develop the "Children's Forest as a national model for collaboration and youth engagement.
Initiate "outdoor networks" to bring together diverse and non traditional partners to work on common areas of concern and interest related to outdoor recreation.
Create a "stair step" approach to getting youth and their families involved in the outdoors, starting close to home and building on a backyard to the backcountry graduated approach.
Increase the awareness of decision makers and elected officials of barriers to successful partnerships and the importance of outdoor recreation to the physical, mental and economic health of our country.
Find appropriate and meaningful ways to engage the private sector in the development of solutions necessary to deal with the issues facing recreation on public lands and youth participation.
Engage youth in the strategies necessary to increase their interest in the outdoors through recreation and education.
Utilize The North Face's Planet Explore social media platform to increase support for, and awareness of , outdoor events and nonprofit organizations working on youth participation and stewardship opportunities.
"According to Deputy Director of Recreation for the Forest Service Nora Rasure, " This conference went a long way in helping us understand each other and to focus our efforts to make sure that this framework will be embraced by all those who share our love of outdoor recreation on public lands. I am looking forward to working with many of the participants to ensure we achieve our mutually agreed upon goals."