U.S. Senators Alex Padilla and Susan Collins Introduce Bipartisan Open air for All Act to Fund City Parks Initiatives

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September 30, 2021 – WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) And Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced the outdoors on Wednesday for All Act, a law that would create a dedicated source of funding for projects that expand outdoor recreational opportunities in urban and low-income communities across the country. This bipartisan law is led by Congressman Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.) And Congressman Mike Turner (R-Ohio) in the US House of Representatives.

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

“Regardless of your zip code, everyone should have access to outside areas in their community.”said Senator Padilla. “Growing up in Los Angeles, I know all too well that urban areas often lack parking spaces, an injustice that has a negative impact on our communities and our environment. The Outdoors for All Act would invest in new parks and open spaces – and upgrade existing ones – to bring the benefits of nature to city dwellers’ front doors. Improving access to the park will provide benefits such as shade, tree cover and clean air, which are vital for us to fight the intensifying effects of the climate crisis. “

“Our state is fortunate to have abundant natural resources that allow Maine residents and visitors to enjoy our pristine environment.” said Senator Collins. “Unfortunately, many Americans, especially those who live in urban and low-income areas, do not have access to the outdoor green spaces that allow them to experience the beauty and tranquility of nature close by. This bipartisan bill would invest in these communities to support parks, playgrounds, trails, and other projects that help all Americans have outdoor recreational opportunities. “

“With the passage of the Outdoors for All Act, we are making it crystal clear that funding for urban parks will continue. Far too many low-income and colored communities have no access to a nearby park or green space. Green spaces are vital to the health and wellbeing of our communities. By maintaining the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership program, we will provide much-needed urban parks to underserved communities across our country. ” Congressman Barragan called.

“This bill would invest in parks and recreational areas in low-income communities to ensure they are well-groomed and safe for people to meet and take part in outdoor activities.” Congressman Turner said. “According to the Trust for Public Land, 78 percent of Daytonians are within 10 minutes’ walk of a park, and with the COVID-19 still present, providing communities with well-manicured outdoor space is now more important than ever to create social distance and to spend time. “

The ORLP program is vital for low-income and colored communities who do not have equal access to local parks. A survey conducted by the LA County’s Department of Parks and Recreation found that while the county’s average park area is 3.3 acres per 1,000 people, the city of Compton reports just 0.6 acres of parkland per 1,000 people. In contrast, the city of Malibu, which has three times the average household income of Compton, has 55.5 acres of parkland per 1,000 people.

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

Senators Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.), Cory Booker (DN.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 (DN.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 was supported 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 Offroad Bicyclists Association, REI Co-op, der Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the American Heart Association, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Outdoors Alliance for Kids.

You can find quotes from some organizations that support the Outdoors for All Act HERE.

A leaflet on the Outdoors for All Act is available HERE and a copy of the bill is available HERE.
Source: Senator Alex Padilla