FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 26, 2021
Amendment Enshrines Urban Park Equity Program into Law
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act,” which included an amendment by Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán to enact the Outdoors for All Act. The Outdoors for All Act establishes the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership program in federal law.
The Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) program supports funding for urban parks in underserved communities. Only two weeks ago, Rep. Barragán successfully led the fight in Congress to protect the program from being eliminated by last minute actions taken during the previous administration. Thankfully, the Biden Administration took preventative action.
“By passing the Outdoors for All Act, we make it crystal clear that funding for urbans 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 well being of our communities. By preserving the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership program, we will provide much needed urban parks funding for underserved communities throughout our country.”
The ORLP program is important for California’s 44th District and Los Angeles County, where low income communities and communities of color lack equal access to local parks. For example, a survey done by the L.A. County Department of Parks and Recreation found that, while the average amount of parkland in the county is 3.3 acres per 1,000 residents, the city of Compton reported only 0.6 acres of parkland per 1,000 residents. In contrast, the city of Malibu, which has three times the median household income of Compton, has 55.5 acres of parkland per 1,000 residents.
Barragán’s amendment was part of landmark public lands legislation (H.R. 803), which permanently protects public lands and waters in California, Colorado, and Washington by designating approximately 1.5 million acres of wilderness and incorporating more than 1,000 river miles into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
Quotes from some of the organizations supporting the Outdoors for All Act are below.
“Access to the outdoors is essential for everyone, especially the 100 million Americans who don’t have a quality park within a 10-minute walk from home,” said Bill Lee, Senior Vice President for Policy and Advocacy at The Trust for Public Land. “I’m thrilled to see that the House passed the Outdoors for All Act amendment to the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act by today, and grateful to Rep. Barragán for her leadership in ensuring outdoor recreation to create healthier, more prosperous communities. Today’s action is an important step forward in ensuring the health, climate, and community benefits of parks are accessible to all.”
“Thank you, Representative Barragán for bringing attention to the issue of park disparities and for taking action to increase funding for local parks. The Outdoors for All Act will provide resources to create and revitalize parks in Brown and Black communities where there is great need for park space and nature is less accessible. Parks are a lifeline for neighborhoods, providing spaces to play and relax, options for food access, even Covid-19 testing and vaccination sites – parks provide essential services and numerous health benefits,” said Yvette Lopez-Ledesma, Urban to Wild Director at The Wilderness Society.
“The Outdoor Recreation Legacy Program will ensure future generations have equitable access to quality parks and green spaces, as well as the social, physical and mental health benefits they provide,” said Elvis Cordova, vice president of public policy and advocacy for the National Recreation and Park Association. “We are thankful for Congresswoman Barragán’s leadership on making this critical legislation a priority, and we look forward to working together to increase outdoor equity for all.”
“The Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) reflects ASLA’s belief that all people should have access to quality parks and outdoor space. With the House of Representatives passing the Outdoors for All Act, we are one step closer to ensuring this important program can continue its mission of creating parks in urban and underserved communities,” said Torey Carter-Conneen, CEO of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). “We are thankful to Representative Barragán for her leadership on this legislation and ASLA will continue to work with Congress to make sure this bill becomes law.”
“At REI Co-op, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived. Every person deserves to enjoy the outdoors and the many benefits that connecting to nature brings. To make that a reality, we need to remove the historic barriers that deny equitable access to quality green spaces. The Outdoors for All Act does exactly that by investing in green spaces in communities that need it most. We are proud to support this critical piece of legislation that will bring us one step closer to ensuring the outdoors is truly for everyone.” – Taldi Harrison, REI Co-op, Senior Manager of Government Affairs
“The Appalachian Mountain Club celebrates the passage of the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act by the House of Representatives, including the Outdoors for All Act,” said John Judge, President and CEO of the Appalachian Mountain Club. “Securing the future of the LWCF-funded Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program is a critical step toward ensuring a more equitable outdoors by providing resources and opportunities for people in densely populated cities and towns to shape their communities’ futures with more and better access to nature, parks, and open spaces we know are essential to individual and community well-being.”
“NLC applauds the passage of the Outdoors For All Act, which would invest in local parks and advance equitable access to the outdoors in America’s cities, towns and villages. Thank you Rep. Barragán for your leadership in promoting healthy communities at a time when residents need outdoor spaces more than ever. Together, our nation must commit to rebuilding communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic by improving outdoor infrastructure and access to green spaces for all,” said Kathy Maness, President, National League of Cities and Councilmember, Lexington, South Carolina
“American Hiking Society praises the passage of the Outdoors for All Act by the House of Representatives, which will make sure that the communities that need them most will be able to enjoy trails, parks, and open spaces close to home.” said Kate Van Waes, Executive Director of the American Hiking Society. “Thanks to Rep. Barragan’s leadership, hikers from every community will have increased equitable access to green space and improved outdoor recreation opportunities.”
“Everyone deserves a clean, well maintained park and the passage of the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act, which includes the Outdoors for All Act, is a huge win for all communities no matter their zip code. City Park Alliance applauds Representative Barragán (D-CA) for her support for the Outdoors for All Act. People need parks more than ever for their physical and mental health. The passage of the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act, with the Outdoors for All included, will help provide safer, more equitable access to parks and greenspaces for all Americans,” said Julie Waterman, Advocacy Director of the City Parks Alliance.
“We welcome today’s vote to advance the Outdoors for All Act,” said Jackie Ostfeld, founder and chair of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids. “The benefits of the outdoors, from improving health and wellness to increasing economic activity, are universal. Sadly, access to the outdoors is not. Many kids and families, especially those from low-income communities and Black and brown communities, do not have the same access to parks and green spaces as wealthier and whiter families minutes away. ORLP is essential to addressing that equity gap to ensure all children, regardless of zip code, can benefit from access to the outdoors. We urge the Senate to act quickly and send it to President Biden’s desk.”
Nanette Diaz Barragán is proud to represent California’s 44th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Carson, Compton, Florence-Firestone, Lynwood, North Long Beach, Rancho Dominguez, San Pedro, South Gate, Walnut Park, Watts, Willowbrook and Wilmington