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What if recreation interests spoke with one voice?

Jim Lyons, U.S. Undersecretary of Agriculture, spoke to a recent conference of outdoor industry executives on the importance of recreation. Paul McHugh of the San Francisco Chronicle quoted some of Lyons' remarks in a September 19 article:

There's a huge rise in recreation demand on natural resources. It's getting harder to provide the quality recreation experience Americans enjoy and expect. Despite our efforts, demand is clearly outstripping supply." Jim Lyons says. "If recreationists don't have a quality experience, they won't be real interested in buying your stuff. So, you've got a role to play in supporting these changes. Frankly, I think it's time you stepped up to the plate and began to play it."

"The recreation industry has never flexed its whole muscle," Lyons continued. "Timber has been very effective at speaking with one voice. But the recreation group produces more of a cacophony; the ski industry shouts over here, the off-road drivers talk over there, and the backpackers say something else."

"It's not our job to advocate one thing over another. We have to act in the ways that the president, Congress and the public direct. But if the recreation industry and the conservation community ever joined in making a plea, I can tell you that would be a very potent force."

Thanks to Clark Collins of the Blue Ribbon Coalition, a former American Trails board member, for alerting us to this article. Please send comments on any trails topic, in the form of Letters to the Editor, to American Trails, P.O. Box 200787, Denver CO 80220 or via e-mail to

return to TrailTracks Fall '96 index