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Bipartisan Outdoors for All Act Authored by Collins, Colleagues Advances

The bill – co-sponsored by Senator King – would expand access to parks and outdoor recreation opportunities in urban communities

Washington, D.C. – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee advanced the Outdoors for All Act, bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Alex Padilla (D-CA), and John Hickenlooper (D-CO). The bill, which is co-sponsored by Senator Angus King (I-ME), would expand access to parks and outdoor recreation opportunities in urban, disadvantaged communities, helping to close the park equity divide.


“Our state is fortunate to have abundant natural resources that allow Mainers and visitors to enjoy our pristine environment,” said Senator Collins. “Regrettably, many Americans, particularly those living in urban and low-income areas, lack access to outdoor green spaces that give them the ability to experience the beauty and tranquility of nature close to home. I am pleased that Congress has taken another step toward passing our bipartisan bill, which would invest in these communities to support parks, playgrounds, trails, and other projects that will help ensure that all Americans have outdoor recreation opportunities.”


“Maine people know that access to the outdoors is a fundamental part of a healthy life – which is why I believe that all Americans, regardless of where they live, deserve to have safe green spaces to connect with the natural world around them,” said Senator King, Chairman of the Senate National Parks Subcommittee. “The Outdoors For All Act would help expand this essential access to nature by creating or improving green areas in urban and low-income communities without outdoor recreation opportunities. It’s a simple idea that will make a major difference in the lives of millions, and I’m glad the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has understood the importance of this effort.”


“Access to nature is a human right. No matter your zip code, income level, race or ethnic background, everyone deserves to enjoy outdoor experiences,” said Tara Brown, Senior Government Relations Representative at The Wilderness Society. “Historically underresourced communities across the country need better access to the economic and health benefits that quality parks, trails and green spaces provide. This is exactly what the Outdoors Recreation Legacy Partnership program seeks to ensure. We’re thankful to Senators Padilla and Collins, as well as Representatives Barragán and Turner, for demonstrating their commitment to ending persistent inequity in access to nature and the outdoors.”


“The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Coalition applauds Senators Alex Padilla (D-CA), Susan Collins (R-ME), and John Hickenlooper (D-CO) for their leadership, as well as the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee for passing the Outdoors for All Act through the committee as part of the Outdoor Recreation package introduced by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and John Barrasso (R-WY). This important legislation prioritizes equitable outdoor access in underserved communities by codifying the LWCF-funded Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) Program. We are grateful for the bipartisan support to create outdoor spaces for those who need them most and for the inclusion of language that lowers the population threshold and allows Native American Tribes, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiian communities to apply directly for this critical funding,” said Lesley Kane Szynal, Chair of the LWCF Coalition.


“One in three people in the U.S. do not have access to a park within a 10-minute walk from home, and this legislation will make real progress towards closing that park equity gap,” said Bill Lee, Senior Vice President for Policy, Advocacy and Government Relations at the Trust for Public Land. “We are particularly grateful to Senators Alex Padilla (D-CA), Susan Collins (R-ME) and John Hickenlooper (D-CO) for their leadership in advancing the Outdoors for All Act, and to Chairman Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Ranking Member John Barrasso (R-WY) for including it in the legislative package approved by the Committee today.  For the many communities that so urgently need this help, Trust for Public Land looks forward to timely enactment of this vital bill.”


The Outdoors for All Act would codify the popular Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) into law and make improvements to this program. The ORLP program awards grants to urban and low-income communities around the country to improve outdoor recreation infrastructure, revitalize local economies, and enhance the quality of life in neighborhoods. The bill would make ORLP more equitable by allowing the Interior Department to waive the required local cost-share if communities don’t have reasonable means, make tribal communities eligible for funding, lower the population threshold so more communities can compete for funding, and require the National Park Service to consider whether projects improve outdoor recreation in communities with inadequate park access. It would also build community resilience to climate change by requiring NPS to consider whether projects reduce urban heat islands, enhance air or water quality, or provide habitat for fish and wildlife.


For a section-by-section of the America’s Outdoor Recreation Act of 2022, click here.


For full text of the America’s Outdoor Recreation Act of 2022, click here.




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