Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

February 2021


Organizations Lodge Opposition to Last-Minute LWCF Changes

Various organizations have registered their vigorous opposition to last-minute changes by the outgoing Trump Administration to the Land and Water Conservation Fund's (LWCF) State Assistance Program, including essentially ending the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) program. The LWCF Coalition, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and the City Parks Alliance all registered their opposition and insisted that these changes be reversed.

"On their way out the door, DOI Secretary David Bernhardt and the Trump Administration are again trying to rewrite the rules for LWCF and erode the very processes Congress passed into law to ensure the program's success," said Drew McConville, senior managing director of government relations at The Wilderness Society and a spokesperson for the LWCF Coalition. "This last-ditch effort misuses LWCF funds, patently violates LWCF's underlying statutes as well as the FY 2021 appropriations law, and undermines conservation and recreation projects across the country.

"Particularly objectionable is the blatant attempt to simply erase the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership program and siphon away funding that Congress specifically directed to provide equitable and just park access to underserved communities who need it most."

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is a conservation program that protects park, wildlife refuges and recreation areas at the federal, state and local levels. For 55 years it has provided critical funding for land and water conservation projects, recreational construction and activities, and the continued historic preservation of the nation's iconic landmarks. It does all of this without using any taxpayer dollars—it is funded using a small portion of revenues from offshore oil and gas royalty payments.

The Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP), a program within LWCF, directs funds specifically to underserved urban communities for new outdoor recreation spaces and renovations to existing parks and recreation centers. The ORLP is a nationally competitive grant program started in 2014 that delivers funding to urban areas—jurisdictions of at least 50,000 people—with priority given to projects located in economically disadvantaged areas and lacking in outdoor recreation opportunities. These awards help urban communities address outdoor recreation deficits by supporting projects in cities and densely populated urbanized areas that create new outdoor recreation spaces, reinvigorate existing parks and form connections between people and the outdoors.

"City Parks Alliance urges the new Biden administration to immediately revoke the Interior Secretarial Order 3388, including the imposition of new Secretary priorities to the State Assistance formula grants and nationally competitive grants. These changes are not consistent with the purposes or understanding under which Congress passed the Great American Outdoors Act," said Catherine Nagel, executive director of the City Parks Alliance.

"Additionally," she added, "the $150 million Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) … reprioritizes the competitive program purposes from the congressionally approved intent of the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership program, a National Park Service program to connect people with parks and the outdoors, especially economically disadvantaged communities that lack recreational opportunities. This is not the time to be reallocating money away from projects in underserved communities. We respectfully ask the new administration to amend the NOFO to restore the original criteria of the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership program."

Kristine Stratton, president and CEO of NRPA, said, "This decision takes resources away from communities most in need of parks—especially communities of color and low-income communities. The ORLP program was created to ensure that adequate resources from the LWCF were distributed to urban areas to ensure everyone has access to a local park. As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has shown, our parks and green spaces play a vital role in the physical, social and economic well-being of our communities. Since its creation in 2014, the ORLP has funded innovative parks in underinvested communities to ensure that all people can experience the physical, mental and social benefits of nature."


Recent Rec Report Feature Stories

Parks & Rec Pros Serve Essential Mentorship Role - January 2021

USA Swimming, U.S. Masters Swimming Partner to Support Learn-to-Swim - January 2021

Online Training Tops 2021 Fitness Trends, Says ACSM - January 2021

New Appropriations Act Boosts City Park Funding - January 2021

Trust for Public Land Ranks Boise No. 1 for Dog Parks - December 2020

USA Swimming Recognizes Top-Performing Clubs - December 2020

Pediatricians Update Youth Sports Guidance, Recommend Face Coverings at All Times - December 2020

ACA Grant Program Aims to Promote Access and Inclusion at Camp - December 2020

2020 Voters Approve $3.7 Billion for Parks & Public Lands - November 2020

Study Highlights Parks & Rec's Role in Youth Sports - November 2020

Grants Available for Swim Lesson Providers - November 2020

Sports Medicine Experts to Address COVID-19 and Athlete Care - November 2020

Study Shows Americans Miss the Gym - November 2020

City Parks Alliance Launches Park Funding Hub - October 2020

Pool Safely's New PSA Focuses on Child Drowning Prevention - October 2020

U.S. Reps File Health & Fitness Recovery Act - October 2020

IHRSA Foundation, ACE Aim to Improve Exercise Inclusion for People With Intellectual Disability - October 2020

NRPA Survey: U.S. Adults Say Parks & Rec Is Essential - September 2020

Effective Date for Drain Cover Standard Delayed - September 2020

ACE Urges Governments to Open Parks & Public Spaces for In-Person Fitness - September 2020

CDC Study Examines Successful Overnight Camp Strategies from 2020 - September 2020

Before Pandemic, Fitness Was Hot, SFIA Report Says - August 2020

Data Reveals Racial Disparity in Park Access - August 2020

USA Swimming Waives Swim-a-Thon Fees Through 2021 - August 2020

ACE Urges Congress to Pass COVID-19 Youth Sports & Health Working Families Relief Act - August 2020

Nation's Pediatricians Offer Advice on Return to Youth Sports - August 2020

Congress Fully Funds LWCF With Passage of Great American Outdoors Act - July 2020

AOAP's Aquatics Professional Designation Certified by CMAHC - July 2020

Fitness Participation Up in U.S. - July 2020

KaBOOM! Taskforce Offers Guidance on Playground Reopening - July 2020

Congress Nears Full, Permanent Funding of LWCF - June 2020

More Cities Join Effort to Reimagine Public Spaces - June 2020

CPSC Finds Steady Rise in Fatal Child Drownings - June 2020

NFHS Offers Guidance on Restarting High School Athletics, Activities - June 2020

YMCA, American Camp Association Release Guide to Support Summer Camp Safety - June 2020

NRPA Report Benchmarks Parks & Recreation Agencies - May 2020

CDC Issues Guidance for Aquatic Venues During COVID-19 - May 2020

Fitness Industry Leaders Reach Out to Governors on Safely Reopening - May 2020

Ys Respond to COVID-19 With Food Distribution, Child Care Service - May 2020

NRPA Offers Guidance on Playgrounds During COVID-19 Pandemic - April 2020

$2 Million in Pool Safely Grants Available - April 2020

Health Club Membership Up in 2019, Says IHRSA - April 2020

NRPA Releases Resource for Creating Equity-Based System Master Plans - April 2020

3 Million More Americans Got Active in 2019, Says SFIA - March 2020

TPL Awards 10-Minute Walk Grants - March 2020

Revised VGBA Drain Cover Standard Approved - March 2020

NAYS Offers Free Training on Sudden Cardiac Arrest - March 2020

New CDC Initiative Aims to Boost Activity for Americans - March 2020

NRPA Launches Mentoring in Parks and Rec - February 2020

AOAP Recommends MAHC Adoption - February 2020

ACE Examines Effectiveness of REHIT - February 2020

RTC Shares Progress Toward Completing Great American Rail-Trail - February 2020