This month, the National Park Service (NPS) celebrates 100 years of conserving land and promoting outdoor recreation across America.
Much of this work has been done through federal acquisition of land for national parks to create cherished treasures and national icons like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone.
Unfortunately, these parks can be challenging for many Americans to access regularly. As a result, it is imperative that we also invest in close-to-home parks to ensure all Americans have regular access to the countless benefits outdoor space and recreation provide.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is a federal program created more than 50 years ago. Its mission is to support national, state, and local parks and recreational efforts. However, in recent years, the share of funding going to states and local communities has been dwarfed by the share allocated for federal land acquisition, meaning federal investment in urban and community parks has been sorely inadequate.
Right now, Congressional staffers are in the midst of negotiating a final energy reform package. The Senate version of this package includes a permanent LWCF reauthorization. While APA supports a long-term reauthorization of LWCF, some crucial changes and updates need to be made to the law to adequately benefit planners working on park and recreational planning in local communities and urban areas.
If you support increased federal investment in urban and community parks, take just a couple of minutes to send an email to your legislators now!
About the Author
Kirsten Holland is policy associate at Advocacy Associates.
Top image: North Pond at Lincoln Park in Chicago. Photo by Carolyn Torma (CC BY-NC 4.0).