U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., was presented with the 2012 Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award, the recreation community’s most prestigious award, at a special Great Outdoors Week celebration on June 6. The award is presented to individuals whose personal efforts have contributed substantially to enhancing outdoor experiences across America.
A panel of 100 national recreation community leaders, ranging from corporate executives to key federal and state officials and nonprofit organization community leaders, chose Klobuchar to be this year’s winner. The award was created in 1989 to honor the life-long efforts of Sheldon Coleman, whose engineering, marketing and advocacy talents made coolers, lanterns and tents bearing his name ubiquitous on America’s public lands.
Klobuchar is the fifth woman, and the first woman serving in Congress, to receive the honor. Her selection reflects widespread enthusiasm within the recreation community for her efforts supporting recreation.
“She has been especially active in supporting recreation programs aided by provisions of the nation’s surface transportation program,” said Derrick Crandall, president of the American Recreation Coalition. “She committed to Minnesota and national trail interests that she would lead efforts to overturn the treatment of the Recreational Trails Program [RTP] in legislation approved by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The committee-passed legislation ended the user pay-user benefit provision for RTP established by Congress in 1991, instead relegating recreational trail projects to competition for funding among a broad category of authorized non-highway projects. State park officials joined trail interests in warning that this path would effectively end the RTP program,” Crandall said.
Klobuchar also was a key champion of the Travel Promotion Act, passed in 2010, which created the Brand USA campaign. With active support from the White House and the National Park Service, Brand USA is committed to recovering the United States’ traditional share of the international tourism market. With $100 million per annum in dedicated, matching federal funding, Brand USA efforts are expected to generate hundreds of thousands of new jobs and new sustainability for many communities near parks and other public and tribal lands.