Outdoor News October 6, 2017 - Explore! Outdoor News October 6, 2017 - Explore!

Outdoor News October 6, 2017

National Park Partnership Awards

Park Service LogoThe recipients of the 2017 National Park Service Director’s Partnership Awards were announced yesterday.  “Each year, these awards celebrate great partnerships and great accomplishments,” said Acting Director Michael T. Reynolds. “This year’s recipients demonstrate the breadth and depth of what can be achieved through partnerships with the National Park Service. They exemplify the important work partners carry out every day in national parks and communities across the country.”

The 2017 National Park Service Director’s Partnership Award Recipients are:

  • Lassen Park Foundation for enhancing the visitor experience and promoting the stewardship of Lassen Volcanic National Park through funding and leadership support of major visitor service initiatives, research and trail rehabilitation projects, and education and youth engagement opportunities.
  • Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Presidio Trust for working together to design, build, and open the William Penn Mott Jr. Presidio Visitor Center.
  • E.L. Williamson, Pam King and Jerrie Blakely, Springfield (Central Illinois African American History Museum); Justin Blandford (Springfield State Historic Sites); Laura Gundrum (Lincoln Home National Historic Site); Michaeleen McDonald (Lincoln Monument Association and the Oak Ridge Cemetery Foundation); Pam VanAlstine (Edwards Place at the Springfield Art Association); Sue Massie, (Elijah Iles House: Museum of Springfield History) and Terry Jones (New Salem State Historic Site) for bringing the personal stories, achievements, and legacy of leaders to life through the Explore Your Story, History through Arts and Crafts summer program.
  • Byron Bell, President of the Board of Trustees of Saint-Gaudens Memorial, for directing and implementing the donation of the Blow-Me-Down Farm to the National Park Service to expand interpretive and visitor opportunities at Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site and for expanding and enhancing community liaisons and partnerships. 
  • MotorCities National Heritage Area, Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island for collaborating with other partners to develop and market the “Find Your Road Trip, Find Yourself” guide and MotorCities Passport Stamp program. 
  • National Geographic Society and its president and CEO, Gary Knell, for partnering with the National Park Service to engage citizens and communities in two-day BioBlitz species inventories.


Recreation Not Red-Tape Act

On Tuesday, the House Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a hearing on H.R. 3400, the bipartisan “Recreation Not Red-Tape Act” or “RNR Act.” Introduced in the House by Rob Bishop (R-UT) and in the Senate by Ron Wyden (D-OR), the bill lowers regulatory barriers to increase public access to outdoor recreation opportunities on federal lands. 

Rob Bishop“I’m excited about [this particular bill]. It’s bipartisan, it’s bicameral and it clearly recognizes that recreation is a key element for why we have public lands in the first place,” Chairman Bishop said. “I see [this bill] as a tool . . . to make sure that recreation is open to Americans.”

“My hope is that ‘RNR [Act]’ is an opportunity for us to renew the bipartisan spirit in advancing the recreation of public lands,” Former Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall (D-WV) stated. 

Nevertheless, bureaucratic roadblocks often inhibit access to outdoor recreation.

“The ‘RNR Act’ greatly enhances public access, that has been increasingly discouraged over the past several decades by an ever-expanding web of fees, permits and waiting lists – all the hallmarks of a thriving bureaucracy,” Subcommittee on Federal Lands Chairman Tom McClintock (R-CA) said. “People have a choice of where and how to spend their recreational time, and when we fail to provide a hassle-free experience for them, they go elsewhere.”

Ron Wyden“Our federal lands serve as the foundation for all kinds of outdoor economies for each of our states,” Subcommittee on Federal Lands Ranking Member Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) added. “Many small businesses rely on dependable access to federal lands, so it is important that congress identify opportunities to improve visitor services and the overall administration of recreation on federal lands.”

The “RNR Act” includes provisions that modernize and streamline the special recreation permitting process, increase veteran participation and access to outdoor programs and establish a National Recreation Area System.  

“Our colleagues on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Capitol should be interested in cutting red tape to open access to outdoor recreation,” Senator Wyden stated.

“Our country’s public lands are the birthright of every American, and we are extremely pleased to see bipartisan, common sense legislation aimed at protecting and enhancing opportunities to sustainably enjoy outdoor recreation,” Policy Director for the Outdoor Alliance Louis Geltman said.


National Fossil Day 

National Fossil Day LogoNational Fossil Day is coming up October 11.  Learn more about it and the associated events on our blog post and learn more about fossils as an opportunity to explore on another of our blog posts.  Get more details at the Park Service’s Fossil Day website and find events that are scheduled across the country.

Fossils and paleontology offer a great introduction to science and the outdoors for kids and a fascinating glimpse into the past of our planet for everyone.  Even if you can’t participate in the events of National Fossil Day,  you can explore for fossils at many locations across the U.S.  Check out the list on our blog

Indiana Dunes National Park?

On Wednesday, the House Committee on Natural Resources approved Congressman Pete Visclosky’s legislation to designate the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore as a National Park. The Committee approved the legislation, H.R. 1488, the Indiana Dunes National Park Act, by unanimous consent.  The measure is now referred to the full House and is expected to be considered in the coming months. 

Indiana Dunes National LakeshoreSpecifically, H.R. 1488 would retitle the “Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore” as the “Indiana Dunes National Park.”  The designation would create the first National Park in Indiana and the 60th National Park in the United States.  The initial effort to name this area as a National Park began in 1916 under the first Director of the National Park Service, Mr. Stephen Mather.  The National Park designation would provide greater recognition of this Northwest Indiana attraction with the intent of drawing more visitors to the region and stimulating the local economy.

Additionally, a bipartisan companion measure has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Joe Donnelly.  This measure is cosponsored by Sen. Todd Young and is currently pending consideration in the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. 

Congressman Pete Visclosky stated, “I thank Chairman Rob Bishop, Ranking Member Raul Grijalva, and all the members of the Natural Resources Committee, for their leadership to bring forward and advance this legislation.  I hope that the full House considers this important legislation as soon as possible so that we can quickly begin to harness this national recognition of the Indiana Dunes and attract new visitors and economic activity to our region.”

Senator Joe Donnelly stated, “The Indiana Dunes is one of the most beautiful natural resources in our state and our region, and I am hopeful the full House of Representatives will quickly pass this legislation now that it has advanced from the Committee.  Designating the Dunes as a National Park would give the area the recognition it deserves, attract more visitors, and further stimulate the region’s economy.”

Senator Todd Young stated, “I appreciate Rep. Visclosky and his House colleagues for acting on this bill.  Many Hoosier families have fond memories of times spent together at the Indiana Dunes.  Changing its designation to a National Park will give families who live outside our great state the opportunity to know about, and enjoy, one of Indiana’s most beautiful places.”

Congresswoman Jackie Walorski stated, “The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is a treasured source of natural beauty and outdoor recreation for not just Hoosier families but all Americans.  Making it the first National Park in Indiana will strengthen our state’s economy by drawing more tourists from around the country and boosting the outdoor recreation industry that is so vital to our region.  I look forward to voting for this bipartisan bill on the House floor.”

If you happen to be in the area,  the Indiana Dunes Outdoor Adventure Festival started today and runs through Sunday.  Get all the details on the Indiana Dunes website.

Lawsuit Aims to Quiet Parks

Volcano NPThe Federal Aviation Administration has fallen down on its job of protecting national parks, visitors, and nearby residents from incessant, noisy air tours, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Air tours offer visitors panoramic views of some of America’s most iconic national parks. But PEER claims that the constant noise of low-flying helicopters and small planes annoys hikers, rafters and other on-ground visitors. In addition, PEER claims the intense noise disturbs wildlife and changes their behavior, sometimes during critical periods, such as mating.

The complaint, with co-plaintiff Hawaii Island Coalition, claims the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is in violation of:

  • The Administrative Procedure Act for failure to develop an Air Tour Management Plan (ATMP) for various parks and monuments as required by law.
  • The National Park Air Tour Management Act for using interim operating authority instead of developing ATMP’s.
  • The National Environmental Policy Act for using interim authority and failing to develop ATMP’s without the required environmental analysis required for major Federal actions.

The complaint asks the court to order the FAA to develop an ATMP or voluntary agreements with each operator for each of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Haleakalā National Park, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Muir Woods National Monument, Glacier National Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and Bryce Canyon National Park within two years and stop air tour operations if those ATMP’s or voluntary agreements are not in place within two years. 


Special Savings for Our Readers 

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Video of the Week

If the Indiana Dunes are not familiar to you, this week’s video will help.  In less than four minutes you will learn how to get there and what you can expect to see and do.   If this introduction isn’t enough,  there are lots of additional videos from the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center that address various aspects of the Lakeshore and surrounding communities and attractions. Enjoy!


This newsletter is compiled by Jerry Haugen and brought to you by
Global Creations EXPLORE!  The eMagazine for Adventure and Exploration

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