National Outdoor Recreation System
The growth and success of the outdoor industry depends on a diverse and robust national outdoor recreation system. From their backyards to the backcountry, Americans seek and demand a diverse spectrum of outdoor recreation experiences and opportunities. With 80 percent of Americans living in urban areas, the continuity of local, regional and national recreation options has never been more important.
Federal lands and waters, revered across America and around the world, drive the American outdoor ethic and experience. The crown jewels of our national outdoor recreation system, national parks drive domestic and international tourism. Forests provide critical habitat for sportsmen, winter ski visits and summer trails. Rivers and seashores provide boating, fishing and family fun.
Which federal agency is the top provider of outdoor recreation visits? The Department of Defense – the Army Corps of Engineers manages a network of reservoirs, lakes and streams across the country. On federal lands, state parks and private preserves, trails are the life blood of our recreation system. Pedestrian, bike, ski, motorized and equestrian trails provide the experiences and access that drive visitation, encourage economic vitality, and promote active lifestyles.
There has been no dedicated federal funding for urban parks since 2001, yet nearly 80 percent of Americans live in urban areas. In addressing the local component of our national recreation system we can provide close-to-home recreation access and safe places for children to play.