This week, President Trump kicked off “Made in America Week.” At the Department of the Interior, we are taking this opportunity to promote and strengthen America’s tradition of outdoor recreation on public lands. The all-American outdoor experience was the idea of visionaries like President Theodore Roosevelt, and has been carried on by the federal government and Congress for years. It could not have been possible without help from philanthropic foundations, American businesses, and thousands of public-private partnerships across our public lands.
We already have thousands of partners across the country who fund and assist with visitor services, infrastructure, and even land acquisition for increased public access.
In my recent visit to Boston Harbor National Recreation Area, I learned how it is a unique example of a public-private-public partnership where federal, state, and private organizations work together to manage the land, provide boat transportation between islands, restore historic lighthouses and forts, lead educational tours, and complete janitorial and maintenance tasks. All of this could not be possible without the joint effort.
Private individuals and philanthropic organizations also help maintain our public lands.
For example, earlier this year, President Trump donated his first quarter salary of about $78,000 to the National Park Service to restore historic battlefields. Private foundations like the Civil War Trust, National Park Foundation, and Save Historic Antietam all chipped in, and with matching donations we were able to fund a $263,000 project to restore a historic structure and nearly mile-long fence at Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland.
Some of our most-iconic, all-American outdoor experiences, like riding a historic Ford “Red Jammer” bus in Glacier National Park, staying overnight in the El Tovar lodge at the Grand Canyon, or whale watching in Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park, would not be possible without the valued work of American businesses and workers.
To highlight and expand on Made in America partnerships and products, this week Interior is hosting a roundtable with outdoor recreation industry leaders to brainstorm innovative ideas for how we can work together to build upon the outdoor experience on public lands. Some ideas I’ve already heard are for outdoor recreation outfitters to make investments in our public lands for things like energy-efficient cabins and fishing access points.
The Department is focused on identifying and expanding the best existing services, and bringing in new services to parks and recreation areas to preserve and enhance the American outdoor experience.