Government forms interagency outdoors council

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The Obama administration announced the creation of a new federal interagency council to coordinate and promote outdoor recreation opportunities on public lands in partnership with federal, state and tribal agencies.

As part of the president’s America's Great Outdoors Initiative, the Department of the Interior, Department of Agriculture, Department of the Army, Department of Commerce and the White House Council on Environmental Quality signed a memorandum of understanding to establish the Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation.

"With the outdoor industry contributing an estimated $730 billion to the U.S. economy, outdoor recreation is a vital part of growing our nation's economy and creating jobs," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement. “The Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation will help achieve the goals of the America's Great Outdoors initiative to reconnect Americans — especially our young people — to the natural world. By ensuring the federal government is coordinating its policies and programs with our state, local and tribal partners we can better fuel our nation's spirit of adventure and economy.”

The purpose of the council is to:

• Coordinate recreation management, access and policies across multiple agencies to improve public enjoyment and the recreational use of federal lands.

• Provide the public with reliable and up-to-date Web-based information on outdoor recreation that is easily accessible with modern communication devices; and to evolve and promote the federal interagency www.recreation.gov/ website to become a one-stop portal for information and resources about federal and federally supported outdoor recreation opportunities, locations, permit and reservation requirements, access, routes, features and transportation options.

• Streamline and align policies and procedures among federal, state, local, tribal and other outdoor recreation providers.

• Improve the engagement of young people and their families in outdoor recreation through healthy, active lifestyles.

• Target underserved and disadvantaged communities for access and engagement in the benefits of and opportunities for outdoor recreation.

• Identify ways to improve access to and benefits from our parks, refuges and other public lands, waters, and shores for people with disabilities.

• Identify partners outside the federal government that can promote outdoor recreation and provide additional resources and access.

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