Obama Budget Means More Support for Parks and Recreation, However, “the Fight is Not Over” for States and Localities, NRPA Declares

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NRPA Urging Vital Support for Land and Water Conservation Fund Stateside Program.

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The fight continues to convince Congress that park and recreation capital investments and programs are a priority that significantly contribute to the economic development, property values, physical and mental health, and general well being of local areas

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) declares that despite Administration efforts to increase funding for parks and recreation, the fight is not over for states and localities, many of which are in desperate need of healthy park and recreation infrastructure to stimulate social and economic improvements.

On Feb. 1, 2010, President Obama released his proposed $3.8 trillion budget for Fiscal Year 2011, providing $434 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), with $50 million for state grants. Despite this 25 percent increase in state funds and more than $100 million total increase, NRPA and its partners are extremely concerned for the future of state and municipal park systems, and urges Congress to dedicate full funding of $900 million to the LWCF, with equal funding for stateside programming.

Only once in its history has the fund received its full, authorized amount, and the Administration has pledged to increase the LWCF to $900 million annually by 2014. However, Congress must now act to carry forth this vision.

“The fight continues to convince Congress that park and recreation capital investments and programs are a priority that significantly contribute to the economic development, property values, physical and mental health, and general well being of local areas,” said Stacey Pine, chief government affairs officer for NRPA.

“We are thrilled to see that the Obama Administration recognizes the importance of parks and recreation and is moving toward a renewed investment in this area. However, in 2009, the National Park Service reported more than $12 billion in unmet needs relative to outdoor recreation resources throughout our nation. In order to effectively build healthy, sustainable communities, a greater investment must be made in the area of parks and recreation,” said Pine.

In the past couple years, serious budget issues have affected states including California, Idaho and Arizona, and localities such as Salt Lake and Milwaukee. The pressure to balance budgets has resulted in layoffs, closures, and considerations for leasing parklands for uses such as industrial and commercial development.

“State and local parks in the U.S. are in danger of being closed or diverted to uses such as leasing for gas drilling or cell phone towers,” said Barbara Tulipane, CEO of NRPA. “What would happen if, in ten years, there would be no open space for communities? No way for children to connect to nature? No way for people to engage in safe outdoor recreation? The negative economic, environmental and health consequences are scary to think about.”

“How dare we not do all we can to protect the important legacy of parks and recreation for future generations. We must protect it at all costs, and we can’t do that if we remain silent,” said Tulipane.

For more information on NRPA’s advocacy initiatives surrounding the Land and Water Conservation Fund State Program, contact Stacey Pine at (202) 887-0290 or spine(at)npra(dot)org.

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of some 21,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy lifestyles, recreation initiatives, and conservation of natural and cultural resources.

Headquartered in Ashburn, Va., NRPA works closely with local, state, and national recreation and park agencies, citizen groups and corporations to carry out its objectives. Priorities include advocating favorable legislation and public policy; continuing education for park and recreation professionals and citizens; providing professional certification, university accreditation, research and technical assistance; and, increasing public awareness of the importance of parks and recreation. For more information, visit http://www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit http://www.parksandrec-magazine.org.

Media Contact:
Amy Kapp
National Recreation and Park Association
703.858.2151

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