woman walks along boardwalk next to lake

America the Beautiful Initiative

In early 2021, the Biden-Harris Administration issued an executive order, known as ‘30 by 30’ or the America the Beautiful Initiative, to protect, preserve, and restore 30% of America’s lands and water by 2030. This ambitious goal will be a crucial tool in our fight against climate change and expand our access to nature, outdoor recreation, and parks and trails. 

The initiative is voluntary, meaning it will be achieved by leveraging and building on existing programs, partnerships, and local efforts to expand public land. It will rely on a coalition of stakeholders to help inform the best path forward. Tribal leaders, ranchers, farmers, outdoor recreation and industry representatives, environmental justice leaders, and nonprofits, will work together to inform the administration on how we can work together to achieve this exciting goal. 

To help catalogue and achieve our nation’s first ever conservation goal, an interagency working group will be collecting public comments and create an American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas that will be a key tool in helping us achieve the 30 by 30 goal. Conservation Minnesota recently took part in a virtual public hearing to advocate for an atlas that counts our existing public lands while also tracking opportunities for growth. This ensures that future generations have increased equitable access to parks and trails, natural areas, and expanded outdoor recreation opportunities. A completed and functioning atlas should serve the public and help all people find opportunities for getting outside, no matter where they are. 

Achieving 30% protection of our shared land and waters throughout the US will benefit us by increasing our access to public lands, increasing quality habitat, strengthening wildlife and water quality, and combating climate change. An increase in high quality public lands and natural areas can help:

  • Store and sequester carbon through restoration and vegetation,
  • Prevent climate pollution by keeping the land in as close to a natural state as possible, 
  • Help the surrounding communities stay resilient in the face of our changing climate by helping mitigate damage from flooding that comes with increased rain events. Vegetation helps slow the movement of water across the land and increase how much water the land can absorb. 

I hope you will join us in support of the 30 by 30 goal, the creation of the Conservation and Stewardship Atlas, and the benefits that it will bring to the spaces we share.