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July 1, 2020

Organizations share statements of support for Outdoors for All program in H.R. 2

The United States House of Representatives has passed the “Moving Forward Act” (H.R.2), legislation that will provide $1.5 trillion for transportation, climate resilience, and other infrastructure. The legislation also includes the Outdoors for All Act, which dedicates funding for city parks through the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Outdoor Resources Legacy Partnership Program (ORLP).


The Outdoors for All Act is supported by the American Planning Association, City Parks Alliance, LWCF Coalition, National Recreation and Park Association, The Nature Conservancy, The Trust for Public Land, The Wilderness Society, Sierra Club, Outdoors Afro, GreenLatinos, Outdoors Alliance for Kids, America Walk, National League of Cities, U.S. Conference of Mayors, American Society of Landscape Architects, American Society of Civil Engineers, Outdoor Industry Association, American Hiking Society, Vet Voice Foundation, League of Conservation Voters, and the Hispanic Access Foundation.


“TPL applauds Rep. Barragán’s work to ensure parks are not luxuries limited to more affluent communities, but essential health and climate infrastructure for 21st century cities. As this pandemic has shown, our parks and greenspace play a vital role in the physical, social and economic well-being of our communities,” said Bill Lee, Senior VP of Policy, Advocacy and Government Relations at The Trust for Public Land. “We commend the House and Chairman DeFazio for crafting and passing H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act which provides the stimulative impacts the country needs.”


“We’re grateful that the infrastructure package commits to reinvesting in local communities and outdoor spaces by including the Outdoors for All Act. Unfortunately, there are too many overlooked and under-resourced communities that lack quality parks and greenspaces. The bipartisan Outdoors for All Act is the first step towards investing in these communities so all people can experience the physical, mental, and social benefits of nature. Consistent funding for local parks and outdoor recreation infrastructure in areas with the highest park deficits will not only strengthen community health, but also serve as a long-term investment in the communities that need it most.” – Drew McConville, Government Relations Senior Managing Director of The Wilderness Society


“Our urban parks serve as economic drivers and play a critical role in increasing resilience in cities across the nation, by providing dual-use spaces for recreation, mental health needs, and green stormwater management,” said K.N. Gunalan, “Guna,” Ph.D, P.E., President, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). “Unfortunately, public parks received a “D+” on the ASCE 2017 Infrastructure Report card, citing decades of underinvestment that resulted in large backlogs of deferred maintenance that threatens communities’ economic stability. The Outdoors for All Act creates a dedicated source of funding for public parks in disadvantaged urban communities and we are pleased to see the inclusion of this important legislation in H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act, as it will help raise the dismal parks’ infrastructure grade, and look forward to see this bill move forward.”


“The negative effects of our crumbling infrastructure have overwhelmingly fallen on low-income communities and communities of color,” said Joel Pannell, associate director of Sierra Club’s Outdoors for All campaign. “Too many communities lack clean air, drinkable water, and easy access to public lands and nature. Access to the outdoors is rightfully recognized as essential to individual and community health, yet one-third of people in the United States do not live within walking distance of a quality park. The Outdoors for All Act, included as part of the Moving Forward Act, will go a long way towards eliminating the social and economic barriers that prevent all people from enjoying outdoor opportunities. We applaud House Democrats, for including this important provision to increase access to the outdoors in this ambitious infrastructure bill and hope the Senate quickly passes it.”


“We applaud the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the Outdoors for All Act, which would eliminate the traditional barriers that restrict many people from readily accessing quality outdoor experiences, including cost and transportation,” said Elvis Cordova, National Recreation and Park Association Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy. “Access to local parks and recreation facilities is an important equity issue and is a challenge we must prioritize.  This Act provides a momentous commitment to the many substantial benefits outdoor recreation offers.


“The Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, along with our community partners who signed on to this letter, support the passage of the Outdoors for All Act because it is an important step in remedying the critical lack of parks and open space in working communities of color across the nation.” – Jose Gutierrez, Garden Organizer for the LA Neighborhood Land Trust.


The following statement is from Catherine Nagel, Executive Director of the City Parks Alliance

“We are thrilled to see that the Outdoors for All Act was included in the House infrastructure bill. City parks and recreational facilities are at the heart of resilient and equitable cities and during the coronavirus pandemic we have experienced a renewed understanding of the important role parks and greenspace play in our physical and mental health. The Outdoors for All Act will expand access to parks and recreational opportunities specifically in underserved communities.


“Parks and green infrastructure – especially in low-income communities where their many benefits are most needed – is often limited, leaving many residents without access to quality parks, recreational opportunities, and other positive environmental conditions. The ORLP is a unique, nationally competitive grant program that delivers funding to urban areas, prioritizing projects in economically disadvantaged areas and lacking in outdoor recreation opportunities.


“Parks and greenspace are vital civic infrastructure and parks will play an essential role in the recovery of our cities. Investments in city parks yield important returns helping to address some of our greatest urban challenges-from stormwater management and flood prevention to reducing public health costs, economic revitalization, and job growth.”