Kamala Harris (268883)

Sen. Kamala Harris has introduced the Outdoors for All Act, legislation that would ensure the National Park Service’s Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) is codified into law. This legislation will help states and local governments build or improve close-to-home public parks and green spaces in underserved and economically disadvantaged urban communities.

In the United States, one in three 3 people, including 28 million children, reportedly do not have access to a park within a 10-minute walk from home. The Outdoors for All Act was introduced in advance of National Walk to a Park Day on Oct. 10, when Americans across the country will be walking to their local park to highlight the importance of access to the outdoors for all.

“Every child throughout the country deserves great outdoor experiences, which include a quality park within a 10-minute walk of home,” said Diane Regas, president and CEO of The Trust for Public Land. “Sen. Harris’s legislation will help ensure that every child, regardless of background, income, or ZIP code, can have that chance, and we look forward to continuing to work with our partners to see it become law.”

“At NRPA, we believe everyone deserves a great park,” said Barbara Tulipane, NRPA president and CEO. “That’s why we’re proud to support the Outdoors for All Act, sponsored by Senator Kamala Harris, which will increase access to parks and open space for people of all ages living in urban areas across the country.” 

“We applaud Sen. Kamala Harris’s leadership in introducing the Outdoors for All Act to provide much needed park funding to disadvantaged communities around the country. With 80 percent of Americans living in urban and metropolitan areas, investing in our city parks is needed now more than ever,” said Catherine Nagel, executive director of City Parks Alliance. “Parks play a vital role in the social, economic, and physical wellbeing of America’s cities and their residents. This important legislation will leverage additional funds from public and private sources and will help provide healthy and vibrant parks for all.”

ORLP is a Land and Water Conservation Fund program that awards competitive grants to states and local governments to create or enhance neighborhood parks in urban areas. The bill also establishes a dedicated funding source that could provide up to $25 million per year at no cost to taxpayers to improve playground accessibility, create canoe and kayak launches and fishing piers, restore vacant industrial land for park uses, and more. The LWCF is currently under threat and will expire on September 30 if Congress does not act to permanently reauthorize it. LWCF is funded through revenues from offshore oil and gas drilling and costs taxpayers nothing.

“Having access to a local park is one of the things that makes a city a great place to live, work, and play,” said Mayor Mark Stodola of Little Rock, Ark., president of the National League of Cities. “We applaud Senator Harris for her leadership to ensure that more cities have access to funding to create and improve parks and outdoor recreation opportunities in their communities, particularly in low-income areas that need it the most. These investments provide multiple benefits to residents, the economy, and local infrastructure.”

“At no cost to taxpayers, the Outdoors for All Act provides Latino and urban communities with access to green spaces and a healthy outdoor lifestyle,” said Chela Garcia, conservation director for the Hispanic Access Foundation. “By supporting local and state governments with resources to build new and improve existing parks and outdoor infrastructure, this act ensures children and underserved communities are able to recreate outside and enjoy the economic and health benefits of green spaces in ever-growing urban communities, cities, and towns.”