Comedian Colbert backs land, water conservation campaign

Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert has joined the "America's Great Outdoors" initiative to urge the Obama administration to adopt a new national approach to preserving and managing outdoor spaces.

One website for the "America's Great Outdoors" campaign now prominently features Colbert with a photo and a quote, in characteristic style.

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"I am something of an outdoorsman in that I occasionally go out of doors — to hail a cab, let's say," Colbert says. "But there are parts of this great nation that don't have asphalt. I encourage you to go explore and support them. But watch out for bears!"

The page includes a form allowing users to sign a petition to "urge leaders in Washington to expand and protect our shared outdoor spaces." 

"There are only a few days left to weigh in with Washington," the site says. "Bears can be scary, but our real fear is missing this historic opportunity to protect America’s Great Outdoors."

The comedian's participation represents his second foray into political advocacy in less than a week.

His testimony — in character — on immigration issues at a House subcommittee hearing last Friday caused a stir after Republicans ripped Colbert and his host, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), for what they said was trivializing an important debate.

The new push is in response to another campaign, launched in April by President Obama, that aims to engage the public on environmental issues and to "start a national dialogue about conservation" that highlights solutions implemented in local communities.

The push will "play an important role in confronting the serious challenges our natural resources face today: climate change, air and water pollution, landscape fragmentation and loss of open space," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said at its start. "This effort will bring Americans from across the country together to look for new approaches to protect our national treasures."