WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the outgoing Trump administration continued implementation of its Interior Secretarial Order 3388 making changes to Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) State Assistance priorities that are inconsistent with the Great American Outdoors Act. Since 1964, LWCF State Assistance grants have supported more than 44,000 state and local parks, playgrounds, urban wildlife refuges, trails, and open spaces. The LWCF is funded through revenues from offshore oil and gas drilling royalties, a portion of which is matched by state and local contributions – increasing the return on investment without using federal tax dollars.
Statement from Catherine Nagel, Executive Director of the City Parks Alliance:
“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.
“Additionally, the $150 million Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) opened today by the outgoing Trump administration 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.
“During the coronavirus pandemic we have experienced a renewed understanding of the important role parks and greenspace play in our physical and mental health, and parks will play an essential role in the recovery of our cities and nation. It is critical that cities receive LWCF funds so they may rebuild and to provide equitable park and outdoor recreation opportunities for those who need it most.”
Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program
The Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program (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.
Since its launch in December 2013, the bipartisan Mayors for Parks Coalition, a project of City Parks Alliance, has encouraged Congress and the White House for increased federal investment for city parks.
City Parks Alliance is the only independent, nationwide membership organization solely dedicated to urban parks. Its mission is to engage, educate and nurture a broad based constituency to support the creation, revitalization and sustainability of parks and green spaces that contribute to dynamic cities. City Parks Alliance unites and serves a growing network of hundreds of civic and community leaders, government agencies, parks and recreation authorities, funders and others.