Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Alex Padilla (D-CA) introduced the Outdoors for All Act. The legislation, which is co-sponsored by Senator Angus King (I-ME), would create a dedicated source of funding for projects that expand outdoor recreational opportunities in urban and low-income communities across the nation.
The Outdoors for All Act establishes the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) program in federal law and guarantees funding for the program. The ORLP program supports urban parks in underserved communities across the country.
“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. This bipartisan bill would invest in these communities to support parks, playgrounds, trails, and other projects that will help ensure that all Americans have outdoor recreation opportunities.”
“No matter your zip code, everyone should have access to outdoor space in their community,” Senator Padilla said. “Having grown up in Los Angeles, I know all too well how people living in urban areas often lack adequate park space, an injustice that negatively impacts our communities and our environment. The Outdoors for All Act would invest in new parks and open spaces—and upgrade existing ones—to bring nature’s benefits to urban residents’ doorsteps. Improving park access will provide benefits like shade, tree cover, and clean air that are critical as we grapple with the intensifying effects of the climate crisis.”
“Maine people know that access to the outdoors is fundamental to a happy, healthy life – which is why I believe that all Americans deserve to have safe green spaces to connect with their communities and the natural world around them,” said Senator King, Chairman of the Senate National Parks Subcommittee. “This legislation would invest in urban and low-income communities to create or improve natural areas in communities without outdoor recreation opportunities. This is a simple idea that will make a major difference in the lives of millions, and I hope that the Senate can advance the legislation quickly.”
Nationwide, 100 million people—including 28 million children—do not have a park within a half-mile from home. In 2019, the City of Portland received $750,000 through the ORLP program to develop Portland Landing Park in the Eastern Waterfront redevelopment district.
In addition to Senator King, Senator Collins and Padilla’s legislation is co-sponsored by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Patty Murray (D-WA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Gary Peters (D-MI).
The companion bill is being led by Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA) and Congressman Mike Turner (R-OH) in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Outdoors for All Act has been endorsed by the following organizations: American Forests, Corazón Latino, American Hiking Society, Landforce, Latino Outdoors, Outdoor Outreach, San Diego Mountain Biking Association, America Forests, The Venture Out Project, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Pacoima Beautiful, GreenLatinos, Hispanic Access Foundation, The American Alpine Club, Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, California Outdoor Recreation Partnership, Youth Transportation Organization (Yoots), Fairmount Park Conservancy, Pashek+MTR, Ltd., David Brower Center, Nature for All, National Recreation and Park Association, GirlVentures, Kokatat, Inc., Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Portland Parks Conservancy, Outdoor Afro, Natural Areas Conservancy, National League of Cities, Outdoor Alliance, Sierra Club, YMCA of the USA, City Parks Alliance, KABOOM!, Outdoor Alliance, REI Co-op, East Coast Greenway Alliance , League of Conservation Voters, LWCF Coalition, Continental Divide Trail Coalition, LWCF Coalition, The National Association of State Outdoor Recreation Liaison Officers ( NASORLO ), Seattle Parks Foundation, Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society, American Society of Landscape Architects, The Wilderness Society, Justice Outside, Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association, REI Co-op, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), American Heart Association, National Wildlife Federation, and the Outdoors Alliance for Kids.
Quotes from some of the organizations supporting the Outdoors for All Act can be found HERE.