On Election Day, voters overwhelmingly backed parks and open spaces
A record number of Americans, estimated at nearly 160 million, went to the polls to make their voices heard. This past week’s election, while at times exhausting, has left me inspired for the work ahead. We at Trust for Public Land are eager to take on the most pressing challenges facing our communities. Our movement to create equal access to the outdoors gained tremendous steam over the past four years, and we are more committed than ever to keep the momentum going in the years to come to ensure that every person has access to parks and the irreplaceable benefits they provide.
We look forward to working with President-elect Biden and other leaders in his administration to bring the benefits of the outdoors to everyone. We were proud to work with Vice President-elect Harris when she introduced the Outdoors for All Act to help ensure that everyone has a quality park within a 10-minute walk of home. As a leader in outdoor equity, we look forward to continuing that work with her on park, equity, and health issues.
The pandemic shows that our work is more important than ever. Parks and public lands have become essential places for people to connect, exercise, learn, and relax. But today, over 100 million people in the U.S., including 28 million children, do not have a quality park or green space within a 10-minute walk of home. Even where parks exist, they may not meet communities’ needs: our recent analysis shows that parks serving primarily nonwhite populations are half the size of parks that serve majority white populations and serve five times more people per acre.
That’s why we’re leading a coalition of 100 community and environmental organizations to call on Congress to include a one-time investment of $500 million for close-to-home parks in any future coronavirus stimulus bill.
And it’s why The Trust for Public Land Action Fund helped organize campaigns for 26 park and open space funding measures this election season. This week, voters approved all of these measures, generating almost $3 billion in new public funding for parks, trails, wildlife, farmland, clean water, and open spaces. Since 1996, Trust for Public Land supporters have helped generate over $80 billion for conservation at the polls. This overwhelming success, powered by voters of all political persuasions, shows how our common commitment to public land can help bridge the divides in our nation. Learn about more ways the outdoors bring us together at tpl.org/parks-unite-us.
Now that this election has been decided, the path forward is clear: we must reunite to address the climate, equity, and health challenges that threaten so many of our fellow Americans. We couldn’t move our mission forward without your support. Thank you for standing with us as we work to create stronger communities for all.
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