Legislation Would Increase Public Outdoor Recreation Opportunities

Earlier this week U.S. Senator Kamala Harris introduced the Outdoors for All Act, an initiative that would provide dedicated funding to support the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP), increasing access to outdoor recreation opportunities in towns and cities.

ORLP, a national grant program funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, was designed to improve state and locally-owned outdoor recreation areas, with a focus on communities that lack adequate parks and open spaces.

“As our cities and urban areas continue to grow, outdoor recreation opportunities have failed to keep up,” Senator Harris stated. “This is an issue affecting communities across the country from Bakersfield, California to Memphis, Tennessee, where less than 50 percent of the populations live within a half mile of a park. Our children and future generations deserve to be able to enjoy our parks and open spaces, and it’s time we take steps to ensure that.”

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The Outdoors for All Act would serve as a companion bill to legislation that was previously introduced by Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA).

“Increasing the number of green spaces for our youth is vital for the well-being of families in urban communities across the country. Not only do parks improve the quality of life by providing social spaces, they promote healthy and active lifestyles for children of all ages,” said Rep. Barragán. “Too many underserved neighborhoods lack public spaces for children and families. Thank you, Senator Harris, for introducing this important legislation in the Senate.”

The Outdoors for All Act reportedly has widespread support, including the National Recreation and Parks Association, the Trust for Public Land, American Planning Association, City Parks Alliance, American Society of Landscape Architects, National League of Cities, Vet Voice Foundation and America Walks, among others.