STATEMENTS OF JOE MEADE, DIRECTOR OF RECREATION, HERITAGE, AND VOLUNTEER RESOURCES, NATIONAL FOREST SYSTEM AND RICK DELAPPE, PROGRAM MANAGER, RECREATION ONE STOP FOREST SERVICE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE BEFORE THE INTERIOR SUBCOMMITTEE COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES REGARDING THE FUTURE OF RECREATION.GOV
May 24, 2016
Chair Lummis and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to provide information the future of Recreation.gov. We are honored to speak before you today on how this program supports the mission of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service (Forest Service) and other federal agencies in delivering outstanding outdoor recreation services to the American people. We are Joe Meade, Director of Recreation, Heritage, and Volunteer Resources, National Forest System and Rick DeLappe, Recreation One Stop Program Manager.
Now, more than ever, federal agencies must connect with urban, suburban, and rural populations and encourage outdoor stewardship and remain relevant in our ever-changing world. We know the benefits of outdoor recreational experiences on physical and mental health. We know the demand for access to outdoor settings and outdoor recreational experiences are increasing at a rapid pace, and we know that federal land and water management agencies, assisted by partners and service providers, host the largest and most diverse array of outdoor recreation opportunities in the world.
Outdoor recreation is an essential part of our American culture. Thousands of rural and urban communities benefit from recreation on federal lands. When Americans play outside during outings or overnight trips, their spending directly supports outdoor-oriented industries such as outfitting and guiding, lodging, and concessions, many of which are small businesses, and many more. In 2012, outdoor recreationists made more than 938 million visits to federal lands and waterways, spending $51 billion and supporting 880,000 jobs. Many of these jobs are located in rural communities and are associated with numerous outdoor industries and small businesses. For the Forest Service, outdoor recreational experiences are the single largest contribution to the gross domestic product and local economies, generating over 13 billion dollars in revenue and supporting approximately 205,000 jobs.
The federal lands and waters reservation system, Recreation One Stop, and the interagency website Recreation.gov are critical components of providing these services.
Background on Recreation One Stop
Recreation One Stop (R1S) is an interagency partnership among federal agencies to provide reservation services, sharable data, and recreation trip-planning tools for federal lands and waters across the United States. R1S was created as one of the Quicksilver e-government initiatives under the Bush administration in 2002 with the primary goal of reducing redundancy by combining the online reservation services of the Forest Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the National Park Service.
At that time, the program was focused primarily on providing advanced reservations through the Recreation.gov website for developed campgrounds and tickets for a few locations such as the Washington Monument and Mammoth Cave. R1S also provided a rudimentary data-sharing tool, which allowed third parties access to a single bulk download of all recreation data. The