Promoting and conserving the Hudson Valley. That was the subject of a listening session held at Marist College. It was hosted by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Deputy Secretary of the Department of Interior. Our Beth Croughan attended and has more on the "America's Great Outdoors Initiative."
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- The famous folk song "This Land is Your Land" opened up a dialogue Friday about preserving and protecting America's land.
"We already have a plan to protect the crucial lands along the Hudson River. What we need is federal resources," said Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan.
And that's where the Federal Government comes in. Earlier this year, President Obama established the America's Great Outdoors Initiative. The goal is to promote recreation and support conservation.
"So that we can begin the process of reconnecting more American's to the great outdoors," said Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack.
The Hudson Valley was the Secretary's 16th stop on a 25-city tour. Vilsack hosted the event, along with the EPA and Department of Interior.
"We're seeing themes. That the federal government needs to be a full partner, but that we need to listen to communities and what they want to do. We're also hearing a strong theme, let's get youth reconnected to the outdoors," said Deputy Secretary of the Department of Interior David Hayes.
And it was also suggested the initiative focus on the revitalization of the rural economy.
"Because we have 1,000 square miles of farm land in this region," said Judith LaBelle, the President of the Glynwood Center.
Secretary Vilsack noted the conservation efforts aren't just about the environment, but about jobs.
"Someone has to do the work, someone has to move the dirt, someone has to create the buffer strip," said Vilsack.
And once the work is done, officials said it'll bring people and money to the area.
"We've seen how Walkway Over the Hudson is so popular, 600,000 people," explained Ned Sullivan.
Sullivan said the Walkway over the Hudson is the perfect example of a public, private partnership, something he hopes continues through this initiative.
The information gathered from the entire tour will be presented to President Obama in November.
If you're interested in sharing your ideas, head to the Department of the Interior's website at doi.gov/americasgreatoutdoors.