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Obama pushes effort to protect public lands

February 18, 2011
"To encourage young people to put down the remote and video games and go outside, we're going to establish a new Conservation Service Corps so they can build a lifelong relationship with their national heritage,"
- President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama called Wednesday for a series of steps to help Americans conserve and get in touch with nature, including full funding of the $900 million Land and Water Conservation Fund for only the third time in its existence.

At a White House event, Obama also proposed creating a Conservation Service Corps to help young people find work in the outdoors, and extending the tax deduction for donating private land for conservation.

The proposals are part of an action plan by the America's Great Outdoors Initiative, which Obama launched last year to promote community conservation efforts to protect the nation's natural heritage and help people experience it.

The action plan calls for creating more urban parks, restoring rivers and creating recreational "blueways" -- river trails designed to generate economic activity, and increasing support for protecting rural landscapes.

Mindful of the budget battle in Washington, Obama noted that existing government revenue from oil and gas extraction would pay to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fun, which was created in 1965 to help purchase land and water property for conservation.

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