Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Executive Order 11278—Establishing a President's Council and a Committee on Recreation and Natural Beauty

May 04, 1966

With each passing year America becomes more thoroughly a nation of cities. Of our two hundred million citizens, 135 million live in major urban areas. The proportion of city-dwellers is certain to rise in the decades to come.

The problems, and the opportunities, of city life have dominated our thoughts in recent years. We have devoted billions of dollars, and millions of man-hours, to planning and building better cities for our people.

Yet beyond the limits of the city there lies another America.

It is the America of forests and great plains, of mountains and valleys, of quiet lakes and lonely shores. In that America, the changing of the seasons is more than the turning of pages on a calendar. It is the cycle of decay and rebirth on which all natural life depends.

To be isolated from that natural America is to be impoverished—no matter how affluent one may be. To destroy it, to treat it carelessly, is to disregard one of the profound needs of the human spirit.

We know that we must keep open the avenues between the city and the natural America that surrounds it. We know that part of the good life in the city is the opportunity to leave it from time to time—to be refreshed by a world no human hand has fashioned.

Because the Federal Government administers massive programs that affect the natural beauty of our land, it must pursue a course that will enhance and protect that beauty. It must stimulate action in behalf of natural beauty and outdoor recreation on the part of others— of State and local governments, of private organizations and individual citizens.

If it is to do this well, its own house must be in order. Its programs must be wise, and they must be coordinated. Its organization must reflect its responsibilities.

Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, it is ordered as follows:


SECTION 101. Membership and chairmanship. (a) There is hereby established the President's Council on Recreation and Natural Beauty (hereinafter referred to as the "Council") which shall be composed of the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the Chairman of the Federal Power Commission, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Administrator of General Services. Each of the foregoing officers may appoint a delegate to represent him in Council activities.

(b) The chairmanship of the Council shall rotate among the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Commerce, and the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, in the order named, for terms of two years each. Prior service as chairman of the Recreation Advisory Council, established by Executive Order No. 11017 of April 27, 1962, as amended, shall be construed as service as chairman of the Council for the purposes of such rotation.

(c) When matters are to be considered by the Council which affect the interests of Federal agencies (including, as used in this order, executive departments and other executive agencies) the heads of which are not members of the Council, the chairman of the Council shall invite such heads to participate in the deliberations of the Council.

SEC. 102. Functions of the Council. (a) The Council shall review plans and programs of Federal agencies for or affecting outdoor recreation and natural beauty. The Council shall make recommendations to the President on matters of policy in the fields of outdoor recreation and natural beauty. The Council may conduct studies in those fields and shall encourage and assist Federal agencies to accomplish effective coordination in such fields.

(b) In carrying out the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, the Council shall, as far as may be practical, advise Federal agencies with respect to the effect of their respective plans and programs on recreation and natural beauty, and may suggest to such agencies procedures to better accomplish the purposes of this order. For the purposes of this order, plans and programs may include, but are not limited to, those for or affecting: (1) development, restoration, and preservation of the beauty of the countryside, urban and suburban areas, water resources, wild rivers, scenic roads, parkways and highways, (2) the protection and appropriate management of scenic or primitive areas, natural wonders, historic sites, and recreation areas, (3) the management of Federal land and water resources, including fish and wildlife, to enhance natural beauty and recreational opportunities consistent with other essential uses, (4) cooperation with the States and their local subdivisions and private organizations and individuals in areas of mutual interest, (5) interstate arrangements, including Federal participation where authorized and necessary, and (6) vigorous and cooperative leadership in a nationwide recreation and beautification effort.

SEC. 103. Coordination. The Secretary of the Interior may make available to the Council for promoting coordination of outdoor recreation the authorities and resources available to him under the Act of May 28, 1963, 77 Stat. 49; to the extent permitted by law, he may make such authorities and resources available to the Council also for promoting coordination in natural beauty.

SEC. 104. Assistance and cooperation. (a) The Federal agencies headed by the officers composing the Council shall furnish necessary assistance to the Council in consonance with the provisions of Section 214 of the Act of May 3, 1945 (59 Stat. 134; 31 U.S.C. 691).

(b) The staff of the Council shall include an Executive Director, from the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, and one individual appointed by each member of the Council.

(c) Upon request of the chairman of the Council, each Federal agency shall, to the extent permitted by law and within available funds, furnish information, data, and reports needed by the Council to accomplish the purposes of this order.

(d) All Federal officials, in carrying out their statutory responsibilities and programs, shall be mindful of the objectives of this order, shall take into account any advice given by the Council under Section 102(b) herein, and shall take such measures, consistent with their authorities and available funds, as will assist in protecting and enhancing the outdoor recreation opportunities and the natural beauty of the Nation.

SEC. 105. Construction. Nothing in this order shall be construed as subjecting any function vested by law in, or assigned pursuant to law to, any Federal agency or the head thereof to the authority of any other agency or officer or as abrogating or restricting any such function in any manner.

SEC. 106. Prior orders. Executive Order No. 11017 of April 27, 1962, Executive Order No. 11069 of November 28, 1962, and Executive Order No. 11218 of April 24, 1965, are hereby superseded.


SEC. 201. Establishment. There is hereby established the Citizens' Advisory Committee on Recreation and Natural Beauty (hereinafter referred to as the "Committee") which shall be composed of not more than 12 members appointed by the President. Appointments to membership on the Committee shall be for two years initially, but for staggered terms thereafter, except that the chairman of the Committee shall be appointed by the President to serve until his successor is appointed.

SEC. 202. Duties and responsibilities. (a) The Committee shall advise both the President and the Council on matters relating to (1) outdoor recreation and the beautification of our Nation's cities and countryside, (2) the correlation of natural beauty and outdoor recreation activities by Federal agencies and bureaus, and (3) local, State, and private outdoor recreation and natural beauty activities.

(b) The Committee shall advise and assist the Council in the evaluation of the progress made in carrying out the functions of the Council and recommend to the Council, as necessary, action to accelerate such progress.

(c) The Committee may, on its own motion, request information relating to the functions set forth in Section 202(a), above, and initiate consideration of items which relate to those functions.

SEC. 203. Expenses. Members of the Committee shall receive no compensation from the United States by reason of their services under this order but may, subject to law, be allowed travel expenses and per diem in lieu of subsistence.


The White House

May 4, 1966

Lyndon B. Johnson, Executive Order 11278—Establishing a President's Council and a Committee on Recreation and Natural Beauty Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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