On February 16, 2011, President Barack Obama announced the first details of his 21st century conservation and recreation strategy, the America’s Great Outdoors initiative. This vision was shaped by hundreds of thousands of Americans who participated in an unprecedented national conversation about the best future for our water, wildlife, and historic cultural landmarks.
Throughout four centuries of American history, our relationship to the land has been central to the development of our national character, our economic well-being, and our governance. According to new statistics from the U.S. Census, we are at the highest proportion of developed land in U.S. history. The core strategy for the America’s Great Outdoors initiative is to target resources to the needs identified by local communities. In addition, the plan will make it easier for Americans to get jobs working on conservation efforts by lowering obstacles to working with federal agencies. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and historian Doug Brinkley will discuss the initiative and what role it may play in the administration’s legacy.