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corporate dominance | forest defense

Exploiting Kids' Nature Deprivation for Corporate Gain

From:  ssilver@wildwilderness.org
Subject: Youth - Outdoors - Technology
Date: January 28, 2007 12:43:07 PM PST
To:  ssilver@wildwilderness.org

The American Recreation Coalition has whipped the "Last Child in the Woods"
public-relations frame into a stiff, self-serving, lather. They have done so
with the full (though perhaps unwitting) support of the conservation
community -- even though the outcome sought by the ARC's is antithetical to
the interests of the conservation community which, no doubt, truly seeks the worthy objection of connecting children with nature.
The Outdoor Industry Association has likewise brought it's non-motorized
access groups into the fray, while The Nature Conservancy went so far as to
pay two statisticians to point out a NON-causal, and thus possibly
meaningless, correlation that many are now saying actually links increasing
video gaming by kids to declining visitation to the Great Outdoors. The
researchers never claimed a linkage. They clearly stated that their
protocols were incapable of linking cause and affect -- and yet the spinners
of this yarn spin on.

It is one great big put on -- one worthy of spinmeister Frank Luntz.

The "We need to make public lands more relevant to youth" frame was created
by and for anti-environmental, anti-wilderness, pro-industrial tourism
forces. Its purpose is to RADICALLY TRANSFORM how public lands are managed
and to refocus the emphasis of outdoor recreation from one set of
traditional values to a replacement set created by industry for industry.

Its purpose is to ESTABLISH THE NEED for public land managers to bring the
recreation industry into the day to day management of public lands ---
because only the private sector can provide recreational experiences that
kids will find relevant (or so we are being told).

For 25 years the ARC been working to replace wildness with mildness and
nature with artifice. To accomplish their mission, they've used every
trick in the book. They've even created a new toolbox for this purpose
www.tools4outdoors.us , doing so in partnership with Ticketmaster Corporation and seven federal agencies.

Please do not be fooled by the ARC's new "Youth - Outdoors - Technology"
campaign described in the appended January 26, 2007 ARC News Release.
Once you realize it's smoke and mirrors, the fraud becomes quite


PS... Since 1999 I have been blowing the whistle upon this fraud.
Learn more - www.wildwilderness.org/docs/relevance.htm

---- begin quoted ----

#01-07 (January 26, 2007)
American Recreation Coalition - NEWS
Contact: Derrick Crandall, 202-682-9530


Washington, D.C. (January 26, 2007) - Candid comments by a panel of young
people active in the outdoors at the January 2007 Partners Outdoors national
conference have sparked a research effort to better understand the
relationship of the outdoors to today's American youth and the possible
roles for technology in attracting them to, and improving their experiences
while in, the outdoors. The research will combine resources of the Forest
Service, the Los Angeles City Department of Recreation and Parks and the
American Recreation Coalition (ARC) and will be field tested in Los Angeles
in mid March 2007.

According to ARC President Derrick Crandall, the youth panelists at Partners
Outdoors delivered two clear messages to the public and private recreation
leaders gathered at Lake Arrowhead, California. First, parents should plan
actions which increase young people's contact with the outdoors, even in the
face of resistance and expressed preferences for time at malls and on
computers. Second, federal, state, local and private recreation interests
must assist by helping find ways for youth to enjoy time outdoors, whether
pursuing traditional activities or utilizing new gadgets and technology.

Forest Service researchers and engineering staff reacted promptly, designing
a pilot research effort to look closely at the relationship between pre-teen
children and the outdoors. The Los Angeles Department of Recreation and
Parks will arrange for and host a diverse group of young people at Griffith
Park in Los Angeles, an urban wilderness and recreation complex. Forest
Service social science researchers out of the Pacific Southwest Research
Station are developing research protocols and will be there to observe the
activities. They believe that such observations, here and elsewhere, will
have long-term national implications for providing outdoor recreation
experiences that will make young visitors into lifelong outdoor
recreationists. Debbie Chavez, lead researcher, said that these efforts
build upon traditions of the Forest Service in the region, including the
Children's Forest in the San Bernardino National Forest. The research is
especially relevant in southern California, she noted, because of the
multi-cultural nature of communities near the forests and the tradition of
visitor interest monitoring for the four national forests ringing Los

The Forest Service's San Dimas Technology and Development Center (SDTDC), a
premier engineering cadre long assisting the Forest Service to develop
emerging technology for natural resource management, fire fighting and other
tasks, will play a central role in the research efforts. SDTDC Director John
Fehr noted, "I've reviewed countless national forest plans and observed
lengthy discussion of alternatives for habitat and natural resource
management. I've never seen a discussion of alternative means to challenge
the growing disconnection between youth and the outdoors." Fehr went on to
say that if getting youth into the outdoors is a national priority, then
forest plans need to address it and the SDTDC can assist in this effort by
"exploring ways to reach kids with technology before and during their forest
experiences and then provide practical guidance to forests on alternative
approaches and new strategies, from podcasts to geocaching."

Jon Kirk Mukri, General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Recreation
and Parks, a participant and panelist at Partners Outdoors 2007, has
enthusiastically embraced the efforts of the Forest Service and the American
Recreation Coalition to move forward in Los Angeles with recommendations for
action developed at the three-day conference. He hopes that the "March 17
pilot program will lead to a sustainable national research effort equipping
both the public and private sectors to better understand how to develop a
strong link between America's youth and the outdoors in the Twenty-First

The Partners Outdoors program was initiated in 1992 to draw together
tomorrow's leaders from federal recreation-providing agencies and the
recreation industry in order to accomplish two goals: (1) to reinforce an
awareness of shared customers and interdependence of the public and private
sectors and (2) to catalyze partnership-based actions to better serve
recreation visitors to public lands.

This year's conference theme, "Unlocking the Fun and Benefits of the
Outdoors to Urban Americans, Especially Urban Youth", is especially relevant
in light of recent national publicity about decreases in national park
visitation, a childhood obesity epidemic and the 21st century's changing
American demographic. And making visits to the outdoors enjoyable and
memorable by providing appropriate, diverse opportunities for healthy fun
and learning for children and families is now a major focus of federal land
management agencies.


Scott Silver
Wild Wilderness
248 NW Wilmington Ave.
Bend, OR 97701

phone: 541-385-5261
e-mail:  ssilver@wildwilderness.org
Internet:  http://www.wildwilderness.org