Barbara Tulipane, CAE, president and CEO of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s proposed budget:
“NRPA is concerned and disappointed by the cuts proposed in President Trump’s budget, as they threaten many of the environmental and community programs that our organization strongly supports. Parks and recreation services are cost-effective solutions to some of our nation’s greatest challenges, and therefore, the president’s cuts simply do not make sense.
The proposed elimination of the Community Development Block Grant program is particularly worrisome. These flexible funds allow local governments to determine how to invest in the programs and infrastructure that their residents want and need, including more than $800 million in park and recreation projects since 2005. In addition, we urge Congress to reject the proposed elimination of the popular Transportation Infrastructure Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants program. These competitive grants have spurred investment in innovative park and active transportation projects across the country, which in turn leverage private investment. Each year, the demand for TIGER far outstrips the funding. We feel we should double down on this successful program, not eliminate it.
Even if you don’t believe in climate change, a 31 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not only dangerous, but is also financially irresponsible. No one can dispute the benefits all Americans have enjoyed as a result of the Clean Water Act. Our water is cleaner and our air is purer thanks, in part, to the green infrastructure solutions parks provide.
President Trump’s proposed $3.7 billion budget cut to the U.S. Department of Education threatens the health and wellbeing of America’s youth. Countless families depend on these programs, offered at local park and recreation agencies, and without them, many children will no longer have access to healthy foods and physical activity. Childhood obesity will rise as well as other preventable chronic diseases, increasing our nation’s healthcare costs.
The elimination of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) grant programs, including environmental education, will also result in long-term costs to our nation. The absence of environmental education jeopardizes our ability to cultivate the next generation of environmental stewards, which NRPA believes is essential to the protection of our environment.
And, while the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was not specifically identified among the president’s proposed cuts, NRPA remains committed to preserving access to public lands through LWCF and other related conservation and outdoor recreation initiatives.
Our members aren’t looking to the federal government to provide all of their funding, but they do need a reliable, dependable federal partner to help them continue to provide cost-effective solutions to any number of issues. We look forward to working with Congress and the administration to ensure that funding for critical park and recreation priorities are protected. We encourage our members and advocates to contact their member of Congress and ask for their support in safeguarding these vital programs.”
About The National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of nearly 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.