Kristine Stratton, president and CEO of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), issued the following statement regarding the Department of the Interior’s recent steps to strengthen the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) by rescinding Trump administration policies that significantly undermined the landmark conservation program:
Today, NRPA applauds the Biden administration for taking early action to demonstrate their commitment to achieving equity outdoors and working to promote access to quality parks and green spaces for all.
Today’s action rescinds Secretarial Order 3388, which was issued under the previous administration, and reverses harmful federal dictates on Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) state assistance funding. We are excited the Department of the Interior (DOI) is beginning a thoughtful process to update the LWCF manual in a way that is consistent with the intent of the Great American Outdoors Act and upholds the purpose of the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) program.
NRPA and our members stand ready to work with DOI to ensure that the LWCF manual revision process honors the intent of the Great American Outdoors Act and keeps decisions for the LWCF state assistance program where they should be — at the state and local level.
This decision recognizes the importance of the ORLP program, which provides crucial funding to urban areas that lack local access to parks. As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to impact people’s lives, the public is turning to local parks for the myriad emotional, physical and mental health benefits they provide. However, more than 100 million people across the country do not have ready access to quality parks and recreation. Thanks to this decision, ORLP will once again be able to function the way it was intended and work to eliminate the social, economic and health inequities that are symptoms of the lack of access to quality parks and green spaces for all.
We are grateful to our advocates, partner organizations and allies for making their voices heard on this important issue and to DOI for making this program a priority. We look forward to working together with the Biden administration and Congress to continue increasing equity outdoors.
About the National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is the leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to building strong, vibrant and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation. With more than 60,000 members, NRPA advances this mission by investing in and championing the work of park and recreation professionals and advocates — the catalysts for positive change in service of equity, climate-readiness, and overall health and well-being. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.