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Letter to the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior on the Outdoor Recreation Program.

February 01, 1963

[ Released February 1, 1963. Dated January 31, 1963 ]

Dear Mr. Secretaries:

I was greatly pleased by your joint letter describing the new conservation policy your Departments are adopting to help implement our outdoor recreation programs. This is an excellent statement of cooperation representing a milestone in conservation progress.

I know that there have been many vexing problems over the years in relationships between the Departments of Agriculture and Interior but your joint statement indicates that these are well on the way to resolution. This achievement in settling major jurisdictional issues between the two Departments, in outlining the principles of cooperation that will guide them in the future, and in proposing joint exploration of the North Cascade Mountains in Washington is most significant--it is clearly in the public interest.



Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to the Honorable Orville L. Freeman, Secretary of Agriculture, and to the Honorable Stewart L. Udall, Secretary of the Interior.

The Secretaries' letter, dated January 28 and released with the President's letter, stated that they had reached agreement on a broad range of issues which should enable the Departments to enter into "a new era of cooperation" in the management of Federal lands for outdoor recreation. "The decisions reached," the letter continued, "will do much to further development of Federal recreation resources, eliminate costly competition, promote cooperation, and recognize the major role that the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior both have in administering Federal lands under their jurisdiction for recreation purposes." The Secretaries agreed upon the following principles of cooperation:

"1. Mutual recognition is accorded the distinctive administrative functions and land management plans used by the Forest Service and the National Park Service in administering lands under their jurisdiction.

"2. Except for existing administration proposals, those covered in our agreement, or routine boundary adjustments, jurisdictional responsibility will not be disturbed among the agencies of our two Departments which are managing and developing lands for public recreation.

"3. Neither Department will initiate unilaterally new proposals to change the status of lands under jurisdiction of the other Department. Independent studies by one Department of lands administered by the other will not be carried on. Joint studies will be the rule.

"4. Likewise, each Department, with the support and cooperation of the other, will endeavor to fully develop and effectively manage the recreation lands now under its administration."

John F. Kennedy, Letter to the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior on the Outdoor Recreation Program. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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