Administration Plans to Look at ‘Outdoors’

Obama Administration officials announced on Friday that they will host a White House Conference on America’s Great Outdoors on April 16. Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and Agriculture Secretary of the Interior, Tom Vilsack are leading the conference. The conference is touted by the White House as an opportunity to begin a new dialogue on national conservation aimed at protecting open spaces and “reconnecting Americans and American families to the outdoors.”

The announcement raises questions about the potential land-grab proposed by Department of the Interior staffers. The Conference would pose an ideal venue to pitch the action to administration staffers and lawmakers. Expect much of the discussion to be focused on the perceived loss of wildland and forests.

Sutley said in a statement, while outdoor locations, including farms, are places many American’s cherish, “too many of these places are disappearing. In launching this conversation, we strive to learn about the smart, creative community efforts underway throughout the country to conserve our outdoor spaces, and hear how we can support these efforts.

Vilsack said, “We believe that the best way to answer these challenges is to work with landowners, conservation groups, sportsmen and women, local communities, and state and local governments to conserve America’s great outdoors, and in doing so, reconnect Americans to our forests, working lands and public lands.”

The conference goal is to bring together “leaders from communities across the country that are working to protect their outdoor spaces…and reinvigorate the national conversation about our outdoors.”

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