Key Senator Calls for New Commission on Americans Outdoors at Interior Confirmation Hearing

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) called for a new Commission on Americans Outdoors during Interior Secretary-designate Ryan Zinke’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee January 17. “Will you use this opportunity to look ahead another generation and ask the question ‘What outdoor recreation opportunities will our children and grandchildren have?'” asked Sen. Alexander. “I think you’re in a wonderful position to do a follow-up to the Commission on Americans Outdoors. This is the 30th anniversary of that report; a generation has passed and it’s time for the next look.”

Secretary-designate Zinke expressed interest and stressed the importance of attracting millennials to their great outdoors, saying, “We have to look at new ways of incentivizing younger millennials to experience the parks, to experience the outdoors, to teach them the value of our public lands…In many cases, I would argue it’s better than being in front of a TV, watching video games.”

Sen. Alexander chaired the initial commission 30 years ago when he was Governor of Tennessee. The American Recreation Coalition (ARC) was instrumental in its creation and guidance, with ARC President Derrick Crandall serving on the commission. Scenic byways, federal recreation fee revisions – beginning with Fee Demo and then the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act – the Recreational Trails Program and greenways are just a few of the commission’s recommendations that dramatically enhanced the way Americans enjoy their public lands and waters.