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“I am hopeful that the conference can co-ordinate our national resources and opportunities in a way better to serve this purpose. It is by no means intended that there should be any suggestion of Federal domination in these activities. Necessarily they are largely local and individual, and to be helpful they must always be spontaneous. But this conference can be of great aid by making something of an inventory of our national resources and opportunities and determining how these may best be put to the most desirable use, and, further, by exchanging ideas, create new interests and open to view new fields.”
– Calvin Coolidge, “Address to the National Conference on Outdoor Recreation in Washington, DC: “The Democracy of Sports,” 1924 (full speech)

“The Federal Government, the Nation’s largest land manager, has a responsibility to engage with these partners to help develop a conservation agenda worthy of the 21st Century. We must look to the private sector and nonprofit organizations, as well as towns, cities, and States, and the people who live and work in them, to identify the places that mean the most to Americans, and leverage the support of the Federal Government to help these community-driven efforts to succeed.”
– Barack Obama, “Presidential Memorandum: America’s Great Outdoors,” 2010 (full statement)

For the past few weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about connections between outdoor recreation policy and the development of innovative approaches to protected area management in the decades following World War II.


In 2010, President Obama launched the America’s Great Outdoors initiative, which aimed to “to develop a 21st Century conservation and recreation agenda.”


In 1934, the National Resources Board requested that the NPS release a report, “Recreational Use of the Land in the United States,” as Part IX of its Report on Land Planning.

In 1941, the NPS released “A Study of the Park and Recreation Problem of the United States.”