Padilla, Collins Introduce Bipartisan Outdoors for All Act to Fund Urban Parks Projects

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced the Outdoors for All Act, legislation that would create a dedicated source of funding for projects that expand outdoor recreational opportunities in urban and low-income communities across the nation. This bipartisan bill is being led by Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.) and Congressman Mike Turner (R-Ohio) in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Outdoors for All Act establishes the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) program in federal law and guarantees funding for the program. The ORLP program supports urban parks in underserved communities across the country.

“No matter your zip code, everyone should have access to outdoor space in their community,”Senator Padilla said. “Having grown up in Los Angeles, I know all too well how people living in urban areas often lack adequate park space, an injustice that negatively impacts our communities and our environment. The Outdoors for All Act would invest in new parks and open spaces—and upgrade existing ones—to bring nature’s benefits to urban residents’ doorsteps.  Improving park access will provide benefits like shade, tree cover, and clean air that are critical as we grapple with the intensifying effects of the climate crisis.”

“Our state is fortunate to have abundant natural resources that allow Mainers and visitors to enjoy our pristine environment,” said Senator Collins.  “Regrettably, many Americans, particularly those living in urban and low-income areas, lack access to outdoor green spaces that give them the ability to experience the beauty and tranquility of nature close to home.  This bipartisan bill would invest in these communities to support parks, playgrounds, trails, and other projects that will help ensure that all Americans have outdoor recreation opportunities.”

“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,” Congresswoman Barragán said.

“This bill would provide investments into parks and recreational areas in lower-income communities to ensure that they are well maintained and safe for people to gather and partake in outdoor activities,” Congressman Turner said.“According to the Trust for Public Land, 78percent of the Daytonians are within a 10-minute walking distance to a park, and with the COVID-19 still present, it is now more important than ever to give communities a well-kept outdoor space to social distance and spend time.”

The ORLP program is vital for low-income communities and communities of color that lack equal access to local parks. A survey done by the L.A. County Department of Parks and Recreationfound 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.

In August, projects in California received nearly $3 million in ORLP funding. These grants will help fund the Ortega Park Revitalization in Santa Barbara, develop the Ford’s Theater trail in Los Angeles County, and redevelop Tidewater Estuary Park in East Oakland.

Senator Padilla and Collins’ legislation is cosponsored by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Angus King (I-Maine), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

The Outdoors for All Act has been endorsed by the following organizations: American Forests, Corazón Latino, American Hiking Society, Landforce, Latino Outdoors, Outdoor Outreach, San Diego Mountain Biking Association, America Forests, The Venture Out Project, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Pacoima Beautiful, GreenLatinos, Hispanic Access Foundation, The American Alpine Club, Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, California Outdoor Recreation Partnership, Youth Transportation Organization (Yoots), Fairmount Park Conservancy, Pashek+MTR, Ltd., David Brower Center, Nature for All, National Recreation and Park Association, GirlVentures, Kokatat, Inc., Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Portland Parks Conservancy, Outdoor Afro, Natural Areas Conservancy, National League of Cities, Outdoor Alliance, Sierra Club, YMCA of the USA, City Parks Alliance, KABOOM!, Outdoor Alliance, REI Co-op, East Coast Greenway Alliance , League of Conservation Voters, LWCF Coalition, Continental Divide Trail Coalition, LWCF Coalition, The National Association of State Outdoor Recreation Liaison Officers ( NASORLO ), Seattle Parks Foundation, Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society, American Society of Landscape Architects, The Wilderness Society, Justice Outside, Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association, REI Co-op, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), American Heart Association, National Wildlife Federation, and the Outdoors Alliance for Kids.

Quotes from some of the organizations supporting the Outdoors for All Act can be found HERE.

A fact sheet on the Outdoors for All Act is available HERE and a copy of the bill is available HERE.

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