John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks Upon Signing the Outdoor Recreation Bill

May 28, 1963

I am pleased to sign S. 20 into law today-an act which will promote the coordination and development of effective outdoor recreation programs. The prompt action of the Congress in enacting this legislation which the executive branch recommended is a recognition by the Congress of the vital need to protect and wisely administer this Nation's great heritage of outdoor recreation resources.

The bipartisan Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission established by the Congress in 1958 has submitted a valuable report demonstrating in a most persuasive manner the need for an affirmative program to insure the best possible use of those resources which will rapidly be swallowed up for other uses unless adequately protected and utilized. This legislation will enable the Department of the Interior, through its newly formed Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, to undertake the planning, research, and coordination tasks outlined by the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission and the Congress.

Significant as this legislation is, it is primarily an administrative tool permitting more effective and better coordinated procedures for administering the Federal estate and greater cooperation and assistance to the States. In order to implement this planning program and to provide the financial means for preserving our recreation resource, I hope the Congress will also enact the "Land and Water Conservation Fund" legislation which we recommended and which is now pending in the Congress. Overwhelming evidence has been received of the interest of the States in this legislation which would permit those who specifically benefit from our outdoor resources to help acquire land and water areas needed for the generations to come through user charges and other related revenues. The Conservation Fund will permit the States to assume the major role in preserving outdoor recreation opportunities and facilities, at the same time benefiting the National Park, National Forest, and National Wildlife Refuge Systems.

I believe all Americans will ultimately benefit from the enactment of S. 20, and I am pleased to approve it in the presence of those who were instrumental in its development and passage by the Congress.

Note: As enacted, S. 20 is Public Law 88-29 (77 Stat. 49).

The report of the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission, transmitted to the President on January 31, 1962, is entitled "Outdoor Recreation for America" (Government Printing Office, 1962, 246 pp.).

John F. Kennedy, Remarks Upon Signing the Outdoor Recreation Bill Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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