Tuesday, May 28, 2013


May 28, 2013


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) President John F. Kennedy, whose family has a history of the love of the outdoors, signed into law 50 years ago today, May 28, 1963, the Outdoor Recreation Bill.

The legislation promoted the co-ordination and development of effective outdoor recreation programs.

    The Kennedys Love Touch Football
           Hyannisport, Massachusetts
                     JFK Library Photo

The passage of Public Law 88-29 (77 Stat. 49) the President said...

"is a recognition by the Congress of the vital need to protect and wisely administer this Nation's great heritage of outdoor recreation resources."

JFK reminded his audience that the report on the need for the kind of program set up by the Outdoor Recreation Bill had been submitted by "the bipartisan Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission" which Congress had set up in 1958.

JFK added...

"This legislation will enable the Department of the undertake the planning, research, and coordination tasks" that were recommended by both the Commission and the Congress.*

*Stewart Udall (1920-2010) was Secretary of the Interior under both JFK and LBJ.  He ws born in Saint Johns, Arizona, served in the USAF in WWII, and was a graduate of the University of Arizona and University of Arizona School of Law.

          Stewart Udall next to Mrs. Kennedy 
                     Swearing In Ceremony
                           January 21, 1961
                         Image by Lmc2516

In 2010, President Obama signed legislation designating the Dept. of Interior Building in Washington, D.C. as "The Stewart Lee Udall Department of Interior Building."

   Department of the Interior Building
                  Washington, D.C.
   Photo by Matthew G. Bisanz (2009)

President Kennedy also expressed the hope that Congress would pass the Land and Water Conservation Fund 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."**

**The Land and Conservation Fund Act was passed by Congress in 1964.  It provides funds and matching grants to federal, state and local governments for the acquisition of land and water.

The main source of these funds are fees collected from companies engaging in offshore drilling for oil and gas.

JFK said that the proposed pending legislation would assign the role of preservation of outdoor recreation opportunities and facilities to the States while at the same time providing benefits to the National Park, National Forest, and National Wildlife Refuge Systems.