Guiding Policy Principles
Parks and recreation resources protect our environment, preserve wildlife habitat, strengthen local economies, attract new businesses, contribute to the local tax base, increase property values, and improve the physical and mental health of citizens of all ages. Recognizing the many significant roles of parks and recreation within communities, NRPA has developed a set of guiding policy principles which direct our advocacy efforts:
1. Public Parks – Parks and recreation agencies deliver essential public services and provide recreation opportunities for every community in America. NRPA advocates for federal investments that provide funding for the acquisition, development, and rehabilitation of parks and public lands as well as recreational infrastructure and resources. NRPA recognizes the unique challenges faced by urban areas and the value these parks and recreation facilities provide to our nation’s cities and urban communities.
2. Health and Wellness for ALL People of ALL Abilities – NRPA believes that opportunities for active recreation are critical to an individual’s and a community’s health and wellness. We advocate for legislation that supports the growing role of public parks and recreation in improving individual and community health through increased physical activity, the prevention of chronic disease, the rehabilitation of wounded service members, and the opportunities for the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in all activities.
3. Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability – Parks and outdoor recreation lands are the essential green infrastructure of our communities and nation. Parks and public recreation lands are carbon-reducing landscapes that help clean our air and water, recharge aquifers, and reduce stormwater runoff. Through energy, climate change, and other legislative measures, we advocate for dedicated resources that will sustain, protect, restore, and expand these environmental assets.
4. Children and Nature – NRPA regards improving children’s access to nature as a national policy priority. NRPA believes that public parks and recreation are vital to the national effort to provide safe, healthy ways to explore nature and enhance environmental education.
5. Transportation and Livable Communities – As the nation’s Surface Transportation Program comes up for reauthorization, NRPA places a high priority on national policies that encourage walking, biking, and the development of alternative transportation networks that will create more livable and healthy communities.