WASHINGTON, D.C. — Wyoming Governor Matt Mead will receive one of two 2015 Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Awards at a ceremony in Cheyenne, Wyo., Dec. 9.
Recreation leaders from the private and public sectors will join the American Recreation Coalition (ARC) and The Coleman Company to present Governor Mead with the award. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon will receive 2015’s second award in Jefferson City at a later date. In addition, plans are underway to honor the Governors in Washington, D.C. during February 2016.
ARC has presented this award since 1989 to an individual whose personal efforts have contributed substantially to enhancing outdoor experiences in America. The award was established in memory of Sheldon Coleman (1901-1988), longtime Chairman of The Coleman Company and a champion of outdoor recreation and conservation. Winners are selected by recreation and conservation leaders from both the private and public sectors.
2015’s award is unusual in two ways. Only once before has a Governor received this national recognition and only once before has the award gone to more than one individual.
“The selection panel for the award had a very rich field of candidates,” said ARC President Derrick Crandall. “Many Members of Congress, Cabinet members and others were deservedly nominated. But reports on the efforts of Governor Nixon and Governor Mead were compelling, showing their passion and vision and their commitment to expanding the enjoyment of outdoor recreation’s benefits while enlisting many partners in their efforts.”
Wyoming Governor Matt Mead was initially elected in November 2010 and was reelected in 2014. The Wyoming native has been a champion for linking Wyoming’s outdoor culture, history and traditions to the state’s national, state and local parks.
Governor Mead has supported Great Outdoors Month throughout his tenure with proclamations and activities. In 2015, he hosted the initial Wyoming Capital Campout, which featured the nation’s first-ever bilingual Capital Campout – Campamento y Comida en el Parque, designed to reach Wyoming’s fast-growing Latino community.
Governor Mead enlisted the assistance of his state parks and tourism departments to produce a PSA urging residents and visitors alike to enjoy Wyoming’s outdoors. This PSA was selected as a national award winner for Great Outdoors Month 2015, allowing the Governor to direct a $1,000 donation to an organization connecting kids and the outdoors. He supported the Wyoming Department of State Parks’ 7th annual “Summer Outdoor Slam” at Curt Gowdy State Park on National Get Outdoors Day, offering introductions to a variety of recreational opportunities for children and families. That PSA can be seen here.
He has provided personal support for “WY Outside,” a coalition of public, private and nonprofit organizations established to encourage children and families to enjoy the outdoors. In 2015, the organization launched the WY Outside Challenge with activities to test participants’ outdoor skills and knowledge.
Governor Mead helped bring increased visibility to Wyoming’s outdoor recreation opportunities by leading efforts for the Inaugural Cowboy Tough Adventure Race this year, where challenging mountain biking, trail running, trekking, and water sports adventures were experienced in park settings.
The Governor is a champion of small businesses in the state, including the many small businesses involved in Wyoming travel, tourism and recreation, a release from the organization stated. As vice chair and now chairman of the National Governors Association’s Natural Resource Committee, he has championed the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Recreational Trails Program. He was selected by his fellow governors to serve as Chairman of the Western Governors Association in 2016 and is continuing that organization’s strong advocacy for the health and economic value of recreation tied to the region’s public lands and waters.
“The recreation community is indebted to Governor Mead. He champions the role recreation plays in healthy lifestyles and sustainable, vibrant local economies. He finds time for recreation in his busy life and unites and cheers recreation community leaders in Wyoming, a state where the great outdoors is a way of life. Governors Mead and Nixon demonstrate that recreation enjoys the support of the nation’s leaders from both political parties and in all regions,” said ARC President Crandall.
The ceremony will also give state, national and private sector representatives a valuable chance to discuss Great Outdoors Month 2016, Western Governors Association initiatives and opportunities associated with Land and Water Conservation Fund, Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, and National Park Service Centennial legislation.
The 2015 Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award is a gold-plated camping lantern specially prepared and mounted by The Coleman Company.
SOURCE: American Recreation Coalition press release