Last week, in a short news conference, the president released the 111-page initiative, an overhaul of federal conservation policy that calls for a new coalition with local governments and states, encouraging outdoor recreation for youth in line with Michelle Obama's anti-obesity movement, connecting wildlife corridors across the continent and encouraging sustainable practices on private land.
The president surely knows that the Parks Service already has what has been estimated as a $9 billion backlog in preventative maintenance. Anyone who has hiked for days in our mountains and in the Sierra Nevada without seeing a single ranger knows that the government is not exactly overspending on oversight of wilderness areas.
Meanwhile, we support the initiative, and look forward to an economic time when wilderness acquisition and funding for much-needed youth employment will be easier. In doing so, we join with San Gabriel Mountains Forever, which notes our mountains "are the `backyard' of L.A. County, and their visitor services are stretched thin with not enough parking, bathrooms, signs, trash cans and rangers." Working with the nationwide Wilderness Society, Pasadena's Charles Thomas, a board member at Outward Bound Adventures, echoes the thought: "America's kids need to get outdoors and experience all that our San Gabriel Mountains have to offer."
Our future is inextricably intertwined with preserving America's great outdoors.