Rally Supports 'Outdoors for All Act' on Congress' Steps
Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.-44) and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) co-hosted a press conference on the steps of the Capitol Building to highlight strong bipartisan support for the Outdoors for All Act, which increases investment in green spaces in under-resourced communities by codifying the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) program into federal law.
They were joined by U.S. Sens. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), who re-introduced the Senate version of the Outdoors for All Act in February of this year to help create more outdoor recreational opportunities in urban and low-income communities across the nation. The CEOs of Sierra Club and City Parks Alliance were also in attendance.
Statements from the participants underscored the significance of codifying the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) program into federal law, ensuring that dedicated, permanent funding to address the park and recreation access gap is available to disadvantaged communities nationwide.
Rep. Barragán said: “The Outdoors for All Act will make it crystal clear that funding for urban parks is here to stay. Far too many low-income communities and communities of color lack access to a nearby park or green space. Green spaces are crucial for the health and wellbeing of our communities. By preserving the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership program, we will provide much needed funding for urban parks that will benefit underserved communities across our country.”
Kristine Stratton, NRPA president and CEO said: “We all must work together to provide greater access to parks and outdoor spaces. Currently, recreational facilities and the resources they offer are not distributed equitably. More than 100 million people – nearly a third of all Americans – live without a quality park within walking distance of their homes. The Outdoors for All Act safeguards ORLP program grant funds for low-income, urbanized areas. This will make a huge difference in communities that need it the most.”
Sierra Club Executive Director Ben Jealous said: “Having the ability to get outside and enjoy and explore natural spaces is a right every single one of us should enjoy. But right now, too many families and too many communities do not live within walking distance of a park. Passing the Outdoors for All Act is a critical action Congress can take to ensure all of us can easily access quality green spaces and enjoy outdoor recreation. Access to nature is a human right, and this legislation is a great step toward ensuring more equitable access to nature for all.”
City Parks Alliance Executive Director Catherine Nagel said: Parks are critical urban infrastructure. We cannot have thriving, sustainable cities without high-quality parks. Passing the Outdoors for All Act will expand outdoor recreation access, provide job opportunities, and engage and empower youth in the communities that are most in need. City Parks Alliance applauds Senators Alex Padilla and Susan Collins, and Representatives Nanette Barragán and Mike Turner for introducing the Outdoors for All Act and thanks them for their continued work throughout the years advocating for this important piece of legislation.”
ORGANIZATIONS SUPPORTING THE OUTDOORS FOR ALL ACT
The Outdoors for All Act has been endorsed by the following organizations: The Wilderness Society, KABOOM!, Sierra Club, Trust for Public Lands, National Recreation and Park Association, City Parks Alliance, National Association of State Outdoor Recreation Liaison Officers (NASORLO), National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD), LWCF Coalition, Outdoor Industry Association, REI Co-op, Latino Outdoors, Kids Speak for Parks, Safe Routes Partnership, National League of Cities, Appalachian Trial Conservancy, American Heart Association, American Forrest, American Hiking Society, Outdoor Alliance for Kids (OAK), Vista Outdoor, PeopleforBikes, National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials and Children and Nature Network.
Full text of the bill is available at: congress.gov/118/bills/hr1065/BILLS-118hr1065ih.pdf