WASHINGTON — Recreation community leaders have begun intense planning for Great Outdoors Month 2014 beginning with Memorial Day weekend May 24 to 26 and ending with Independence Day July 4.
Pillars of Great Outdoors Month include events ranging from National Trails Day to National Fishing and Boating Week, from National GO (Get Outdoors) Day to Welcome to the Water on National Marina Day and the Great American Backyard Campout.
Great Outdoors Month is officially proclaimed through proclamations issued by the president of the United States and all 50 state governors. The proclamations highlight the value of recreation to conservation causes while fostering appreciation of our American values and raising awareness of the economic importance of the $650+ billion in annual spending in countless communities across the United States, the role of recreation in boosting physical and mental health, and the value of the Great Outdoors to U.S. efforts to attract international tourists.
Great Outdoors Month Co-Chairs Gregory Miller, of the American Hiking Society; Kevin Coyle, of the National Wildlife Federation; and Derrick Crandall of the American Recreation Coalition, convened the first coordination session Jan. 9.
Great Outdoors Month partners discussed exciting new partnership opportunities with The Coleman Company, SC Johnson’s OFF and national youth organizations. The agenda also covered plans for new activities at the state level – including Capital Camp-Outs, VIP tours of state and national recreation sites and initiatives to attract more families with young children and Americans living in urban areas to public lands and waters in cooperation with libraries, social service agencies and more.
“Today’s meeting was exceptional and exciting,” said Coyle. “Great Outdoors Month is now a significant and growing component in efforts to connect all Americans – especially young Americans – to our Great Outdoors.”
“The collective reach and resources of Great Outdoors Month partners are truly amazing,” added Miller. “In 2014, we expect to see a tremendous step forward with more, bigger and better events and opportunities than ever before.”
Crandall commented, “Great Outdoors Month partners will present a stronger and more unified voice for recreation all across America. Working together, we can really make a difference.”
Great Outdoors Month co-chairs will brief leaders of key federal agencies hosting more than a billion recreation visits annually and other key national leaders about plans for the month in the near future.
In addition to the three lead entities, organizations participating in the meeting included the:
- American Sportfishing Association
- Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
- Association of Marina Industries
- Children and Nature Network
- The Corps Network
- Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation
- International Mountain Bicycling Association
- National Recreation and Park Association
- National Park Service
- National Park Trust
- National Parks Conservation Association
- National Tour Association
- RV Dealers Association
- Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation
- Student Conservation Association
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- U.S. Forest Service.
SOURCE: American Recreation Coalition press release