The report, “America’s Great Outdoors: A Promise to Future Generations,” is meant to be a blueprint for the nation, to encourage greater engagement of youth in outdoor recreation and conservation work and to increase landscape scale cooperative conservation efforts involving communities and conservation groups like TU.
“TU appreciates the great efforts made by the Administration to engage the nation in an inclusive public discussion about the challenges we face to our fish and wildlife resources, and to the future of America’s outdoor heritage,” said Chris Wood, Trout Unlimited’s President and CEO. “We are pleased that the report features many of the approaches that TU volunteers and staff are using every day to rise to the challenge: educating youth and getting involved in on the ground stream restoration and community-based, landscape-scale watershed restoration partnerships,” Wood said.
Several TU projects are mentioned in the report as successful models of conservation, including:
- TU’s 5 Rivers College Outreach program, where TU works with colleges to organize “alternative spring breaks” so that groups of students can gain hands-on experience in aquatic ecology and habitat restoration;
- Trout in the Classroom, an environmental educational program in which participating classes raise trout in a classroom tank throughout the school year and then release them into a stream in the spring;
- The Blackfoot Challenge, an exemplary restoration program on the Blackfoot River developed by TU’s Big Blackfoot Chapter in Montana.
The report includes the following recommendations:
- Fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which directs federal revenue from offshore oil and gas development for national, state and local conservation and recreation projects
- Establishing a 21st century Conservation Service Corps to engage youth in land and water conservation.
- Extending the federal tax deduction for conservation easement donations on private lands beyond 2011.
- Supporting collaborative efforts to conserve large landscapes across working lands by targeting resources from incentive-based programs.
- Increasing outdoor recreational opportunities and access.
“The President and his Administration listened to Americans and developed a good plan,” said Wood. “Now we must convince that same Administration, Congress, and decision-makers across the land that these ideas are worth the investment and effort needed to make them a reality,” he said.
The report was drawn from more than 50 public listening sessions held across the country since last April that drew more than 10,000 participants and 105,000 comments.
The report can be found at http://americasgreatoutdoors.gov/report/