Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today joined Governor Gary Herbert, Mayor Ralph Becker and senior administration officials at a listening session under President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative to develop a conservation agenda for the 21st century.
The listening session, one of a series being held across the nation this summer, offers the public an opportunity to share what individuals and communities are doing to promote conservation and outdoor recreation.
"The America's Great Outdoors initiative is a partnership with the American people to build upon what communities across our nation are already doing to conserve our land and wildlife and to reconnect people, especially young people, to the outdoors," Salazar said. "The citizens of Utah have a long history of conserving one of our country's most beautiful states and they serve as an important voice in this national dialogue."
"While America is certainly not lacking when it comes to the 'great outdoors,' it must be noted that Utah meets - and exceeds - every superlative when we consider proximity to the outdoors, stunning beauty and opportunities for outdoor recreation and adventure," Governor Herbert said. "We are also blessed with a rich abundance of natural resources in Utah, and we have a need to develop these resources to the benefits of Utahns, and all Americans. I firmly believe that Utah is a state that can both love and preserve the great outdoors while also promoting economic development within Utah and energy development for the entire nation."
"Utah is blessed with a variety beautiful outdoor spaces for fishing, hunting, relaxing, or connecting with nature," said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. "This listening session will deepen our understanding of which places matter most to the people of Utah, and give us a chance to learn about the new and creative ways they are protecting them."
President Obama inaugurated the America's Great Outdoors Initiative at the White House Conference on the Great Outdoors in April. The conference brought together leaders from communities across the country that are working to protect their outdoor spaces and focused on developing and supporting innovative ideas for improving conservation and recreation at the local level.
In a Presidential Memorandum, he called on the Secretaries of the Interior and of Agriculture, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality to lead the initiative, in coordination with the Departments of Defense, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Labor, Transportation, Education, and the Office of Management and Budget.
From coast to coast, ranchers, farmers, sportsmen, conservationists, state and local government leaders, tribal leaders, public lands experts, youth leaders, business representatives have been attending listening sessions to discuss the challenges, opportunities and innovations surrounding modern-day land conservation and the importance of reconnecting Americans to the outdoors.
Earlier in the day, Secretary Salazar delivered the keynote address at the Outdoor Industry breakfast, which is held in conjunction with the Outdoor Retailer trade show at the Downtown Marriott.
For more information on the America's Great Outdoors Initiative, please visit: http://www.doi.gov/americasgreatoutdoors.