Washington, DC – Today, the President signed the “Great American Outdoors Act” into law, providing $900 million in permanent and dedicated annual funding for the Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and funding to address the backlog of maintenance projects in our national parks and public lands. Since 1964, LWCF has 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:
“This historic investment in our parks and public space fulfills a commitment made decades ago to increase safe access to nature for all Americans. Bipartisan support for the “Great American Outdoors Act” demonstrates the power of parks to bring people together, and a recognition of parks’ role in supporting local economies, providing safe recreational opportunities, and improving the environmental health of our communities. The Act permanently funds the Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), reduces the maintenance backlog on our public lands, and provides more equitable access to nature for millions of families.
“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. Permanent funding for the LWCF will help provide access to parks 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.
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