America's Great Outdoors: Recommended Reading

Nov 10, 2011, 7:46 PM, Posted by NewPublicHealth

The Department of the Interior has released the America’s Great Outdoors Report, a new offering that highlights two outdoor projects in each state that can help reconnect Americans with open spaces near their communities.

“These projects represent what states believe are among the best investments in the nation to support a healthy, active population, conserve wildlife and working lands, and create travel, tourism and outdoor-recreation jobs across the nation,” says Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar.

State highlights include:

  • More than 20 projects to construct new trails or improve recreational sites—such as completing gaps in the Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin and expanding the multi-use Shingle Creek Trail in Florida
  • Twenty projects that will create and enhance urban parks—such as new outdoor recreational opportunities on Chicago’s South Side and restoring the Harlem River in the Bronx
  • Thirteen projects that will restore and conserve significant landscapes— such as the native grasslands of North and South Dakota.

Secretary Salazar says the projects were selected based on their potential to conserve important lands and build recreation opportunities and economic growth for the surrounding communities. Stakeholders involved in the selection, in addition to the fifty state governors and staff from the Department of the Interior, included private landowners, local- and tribal-elected officials, community organizations and outdoor-recreation and conservation groups.

Funding for the projects will come from a variety of resources including state and federal agencies, grants and private funding. An action plan will be developed for each one.

>>Read the full report.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.