Women Outdoors applauds the passage of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act, signed into law by President Obama on March 30, 2009. Comprehensive in scope, the act is a dream come true for anyone who loves the outdoors.
The Omnibus Public Land Act designates over two million acres of
wilderness and adds over 1,000 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers, 2,800
miles of National Trails, and 330,000 acres of National Conservation
Areas. In addition, the act addresses the National Landscape
Conservation System and the Forest Landscape Conservation Service, and
takes steps to improve our oceans, coasts and Great Lakes.
According to the American Hiking Society, a partner of Women Outdoors, “Not since the National Park System was created in 1916 has a single action of Congress had a greater positive impact on the hiking experience. This is a terrific achievement for all hikers and a ‘crowning achievement’ for American Hiking Society, as we’ve been working for four years on key elements of this all-encompassing trails, wilderness and conservation bill.”
In his speech at the White House, President Obama captured the spirit of the law:
“Winters hardships are slowly giving way to spring, and our thoughts naturally tend to turn to the outdoors. We emerge from the shelter offered by home and work, and we look around, and we're reminded that the most valuable things in this life are those things that we already possess.
"Now, as Americans, we possess few blessings greater than the vast and varied landscapes that stretch the breadth of our continent. Our lands have always provided great bounty, food and shelter for the first Americans, for settlers and pioneers, the raw materials that grew our industry, the energy that powers our economy.
"What these gifts require in return is our wise and responsible stewardship. As our greatest conservationist president, Teddy Roosevelt, put it almost a century ago, "I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land, but I do not recognize the right to waste them or to rob by wasteful use the generations that come after us."
"That's the spirit behind the bipartisan legislation I'm signing today, legislation among the most important in decades to protect, preserve and pass down our nation's most treasured landscapes to future generations.
“It's a vision that sees America's great wilderness as a place where it was and what is and what will be, all are the same, a place where memories are lived and relived, a place where Americans both young and young at heart can freely experience the spirit of adventure that has always been at the heart of the rugged character of America.”