Millions of Americans visit their public lands for outdoor recreation, such as hiking, biking, cross-country skiing and kayaking. They choose to exercise in parks and greenspaces, rather than a gym, for the positive impacts nature can have on the body and the mind. Recreationalists are often the first to notice when a public land is degraded, and in many cases, the first to step up and lend a hand to help with restoration projects.
The Outdoor Alliance is a coalition of recreation organizations and their members who are committed to the conservation and stewardship of our nation’s land and waters through the promotion of sustainable, human-powered recreation. The recreation organizations include, The American Canoe Association, the Access Fund, the American Hiking Society, American Whitewater, the International Mountain Biking Association and Winter Wildlands Alliance. Each organization has members concerned about the state of public lands and a willingness to lead volunteer events to build trails, remove invasive species, clear trash and improve the infrastructure in parks.
The Outdoor Alliance has a set of founding principles that include:
- Fostering America`s conservation ethic
- Providing responsible access
- Conserving and restoring healthy lands and waters
- Ensuring well-maintained recreation infrastructure
- Appropriate management of recreation
- Promoting the health benefits of recreation
- Promoting young people experiencing the outdoors for recreation
- Public participation in policy development, planning and management decisions influencing public land and water
The Outdoor Alliance held a Partnership Summit in December 2011 in order to produce a list of best practices and models for how recreation organizations can partner with government agencies to protect public lands and increase access to recreation. The resulting report was published in April and features 19 success stories of effective partnerships. Several of the partnerships have a history with National Public Lands Day including the Yosemite Facelift. Read the Outdoor Alliance Summit Partnership Report (PDF).
The Public Lands Every Day program has partnered with the Outdoor Alliance in order to provide the most up-to-date resources on recreation to the hundreds of friends group that participate in National Public Lands Day and receive Every Day grants. Friends groups and recreation organizations can work together to magnify the impacts of the partnerships with federal agencies.