Obama prioritizes rivers and blue trails in America’s Great Outdoors

You spoke, and the Obama Administration listened.

This past spring, President Obama launched the America’s Great Outdoors initiative aimed at preserving our natural resources and promoting recreation, especially among youth. American Rivers rallied thousands of supporters like you nationwide to turn out across the country at official and homegrown listening sessions hosted by the administration.

All summer, from Los Angeles to Orlando, in Bangor and Bozeman, communities and local river groups told their river stories at these sessions, in the media, and online.

Today, the Obama Administration released a report detailing its America’s Great Outdoors initiative. The report echoes many of American Rivers’ recommendations. It stresses the need for additional river protection and restoration measures nationwide and calls for the creation of new blueways.

The report also recommends managing federal lands and waters in a larger context to promote ecosystem health, while preparing for droughts and other impacts of climate change. And by establishing a Conservation Service Corps, the administration aims to engage youth in land and water restoration.

American Rivers applauds the administration for recognizing the many blessings of healthy rivers. Most Americans live within a mile of a river or stream, so rivers are essential to our health and quality of life. They provide Americans with a great opportunity to experience the outdoors and connect with nature.

Rivers also provide us with clean drinking water — the number one environmental concern among Americans.

While we celebrate the momentum and focus around rivers, cuts to clean water safeguards proposed right now in Congress would mean more sewage and pollution in our waterways. This is a serious threat to public health, our natural heritage, and our ability to enjoy rivers with our children and families.

Congress must reject proposed cuts and newly-minted loopholes that would make our rivers unsafe for drinking water and recreation.

We will continue to fight for our rivers that make America such a great story. Whether it is implementing the recommendations in the America’s Great Outdoors report or defending critical clean water protections, American Rivers is dedicated to leaving a legacy of healthy rivers and clean water for the next generation.

Watch President Obama’s address about America’s Great Outdoors: