A Conservation Agenda for the 21st Century
President Obama launched America’s Great Outdoors in 2009 to set a new national agenda for conservation and recreation. Based on input from citizens and community leaders across the country, America’s Great Outdoors emphasizes connecting people with the land, conserving and restoring the environment, and fostering partnerships for conservation.
The plan includes five major conservation initiatives:
- Landscapes: protecting large rural landscapes, including treasured scenery, natural areas, and working lands.
- Recreation: expanding access to outdoor recreation and creating new opportunities for Americans to enjoy outdoors.
- Rivers: restoring the health of America’s waterways and creating new recreational opportunities alongside or on rivers.
- Urban: providing parks, trails, outdoor recreation, and open space close to the places where people live and work.
- Youth: connecting children and teenagers with nature and inspiring the next generation of environmental stewardship.
Explore the America’s Great Outdoors plan.
Land Trusts Shaping the Vision
The Land Trust Alliance worked closely with federal agencies to design this new agenda for conservation and recreation. In addition, the Alliance and hundreds of land trusts participated in listening sessions that informed the plan. The resulting agenda recognizes the contributions and strategic role of land trusts.
When announcing the report, President Obama said “"At a time when America’s open spaces are controlled by a patchwork of groups, from government to land trusts to private citizens, it’s clear that conservation in the 21st century is going to take more than what we can do here in Washington… Meeting the new test of environmental stewardship means finding the best ideas at the grassroots level, it means helping states, communities and nonprofits protect their own resources and it means figuring out how the federal government can be a better partner in those efforts."
The vision expressed in America’s Great Outdoors has gone on to inform the conservation priorities of the Obama Administration. For example, it has inspired new initiatives like the Regional Conservation Partnership Program in the 2014 Farm Bill, which enlists land trusts and other partners to leverage federal funds for national and local conservation projects.