Great parks and open green spaces make stronger, healthier communities.
As Congress considers how best to address the economic crisis that has come alongside the current public health emergency, we urge consideration of investment in our parks, public lands, and outdoor recreation infrastructure as part of a larger stimulus package.
In the weeks and months to come, our nation’s parks, trails, and outdoor spaces will be integral to the public’s coping and recovery. Never have people valued their parks, trails, forests and waters more than now, turning to them for emotional solace and physical activity in this time of isolation and anxiety. Every child and every family deserves access to the outdoors and the countless benefits parks provide, and we must make sure that these places are protected and maintained for decades and generations to come.
Unfortunately, we’ve witnessed chronic diversion of funds intended for the Land and Water Conservation Fund – the nation’s most important tool for conservation and public recreation access. This has increasingly jeopardized the integrity of our public lands and impeded public use and enjoyment. Despite increased visitation, our National Park System has been neglected, as evidenced by unmaintained historic sites, crumbling roads and trials, and outdated visitor amenities. Upgrades are badly needed to ensure safety and accessibility for all people.
In early June, the U.S. Senate will vote on the Great American Outdoors Act, which aims to address conservation and recreation needs at our beloved national, state, and local parks. But, the U.S. House of Representatives needs to vote on this act to secure full funding for programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The Great American Outdoors Act is broadly-supported, bipartisan legislation that was already in the queue for Senate Floor before coronavirus upended the calendar. It is directly relevant, ready-to-go, and uses no taxpayer dollars. It makes sense for Congress to include in a stimulus package.
Please take action right now by messaging your member of congress to help build support in the U.S. House of Representatives. The health of future Floridians depends on people like you speaking up for conservation to their elected officials.