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June 9th, 2009
Support Our Public Lands During Great Outdoors Month

I support the proclamation by President Obama to declare the month of June as Great Outdoors Month.

Our nation is rich in exceptional, natural wonders and, with this proclamation; the Obama Administration is encouraging all Americans to take advantage of them. Whether you seek recreation, or simply want to enjoy the natural beauty of our land, this proclamation encourages us to explore the outdoors and make the most of all the activities that our public lands have to offer.

Included in this proclamation is a commitment to increase the number of young people participating in national service on public lands. As Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands, I strongly endorse this initiative and support efforts to engage our youth in outdoor service activities. It is vital that our youth experience the wonders of nature so that we may cultivate future leaders who will be committed to the protection and enhancement of our lands.

The ideas put forth by this proclamation are congruent with legislation that I have introduced in the 111th Congress and I am eager to see these bills enhanced by the Obama Administration’s commitment to the environment.

Earlier this year, I introduced the Omnibus Public Land Management Act, which was signed into law by President Obama. The bill allocates more than 2 million acres of wilderness in nine states and establishes or expands several national park units, a new national monument, four new national conservation areas, more than 1,000 miles of national wild and scenic rivers and four new national trails, among other worthy projects..

I also am a co-sponsor the Public Lands Service Corps Act. This legislation takes a decisive step forward in finishing work that is desperately needed in our national park lands, forests, wildlife refuges, historic sites and Indian lands. Though the Public Lands Corps was established in 1993 to address massive backlogs of vital maintenance work, years of inadequate funding have prevented agencies from completing this work. As a result, natural and cultural resources have been neglected and our infrastructure has continued to crumble. This bill will help us to restore our public lands, and train the next generation of public land managers and enthusiasts.

Additionally, I am a co-sponsor and strong advocate of The No Child Left Inside Act which seeks to enhance environmental education involvement for students both inside and outside of our classrooms.

It is our duty not only to encourage people to explore the outdoors in order to expand their knowledge of the land and foster greater appreciation for it, but also to increase enjoyment from it as well. We must create the next generation of stewards to safeguard our National Parks for the next 100 years.

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