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Obama administration revamps federal recreation website

The Obama administration announced Monday that it has redesigned www.recreation.gov, a multiagency government website that guides visitors to 90,000 sites on federal lands such as national parks, wildlife refuges, waterways, forests and recreation areas, in an effort to increase rural tourism.

Ken Salazar
Ken Salazar
A news release issued jointly by the Agriculture, Interior and Commerce departments, the Army and the Council on Environmental Quality, said the revamp was part of an administration initiative "to fuel the economy and create jobs by promoting travel and tourism.”

“Tourism and outdoor recreation are powerful economic engines in communities across the country,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said.

Tom Vilsack
Tom Vilsack
“With the redesign of recreation.gov, we are making it easier for people to plan trips, find outdoor adventures, and explore activities at our public lands across the country,” Salazar said.

“Outdoor activities contribute an estimated $646 billion to the U.S. economy, according to independent estimates, and this enhanced website will provide a gateway for Americans to enjoy their great outdoors,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said.

Rebecca Blank
Rebecca Blank
“If we can provide visitors both here and abroad easily accessible information and itineraries at the click of a mouse, we will increase the number of people who choose to vacation and travel in the United States,” Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank said.

“From hotels to restaurants to taxis, small businesses across the nation stand to benefit from this new website,” Blank said.

The 7 million visitors who use the web site every year will be able to make reservations, see ready-made itineraries for destination cities, and search for activities on an interactive map, the administration said.

Jo-Ellen Darcy

Jo-Ellen Darcy
“Recreation.gov is a ‘one-stop’ website to find places that are close to home for a day's fishing, boating, swimming, hiking, and much more. There are so many sites within a short drive of urban areas that people don't know about,” Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy said.

“At recreation.gov, people can find parks, swimming beaches, boat ramps, and other places to get away to for a few hours, days, or weeks."

The update is a joint initiative between federal agency partners – including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, National Archives and Records Administration, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Obama signed an executive order in January to start an effort to increase travel and tourism in and to the United States.