Congress Makes Significant Investments in Outdoor Equity
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden signed into law the recently passed FY22 omnibus appropriations bill, during a signing ceremony at the White House. The budget package includes dedicated funding for a number of Trust for Public Land projects as well as programmatic funding to help create and expand parks and open space across the country.
“Equitable access to the outdoors helps people lead healthier, happier, more prosperous lives and Trust for Public Land applaud Congress for this historic investment in parks which will help millions of Americans experience the benefits of nature,” said Bill Lee, Senior Vice President of Policy, Advocacy & Government Relations for Trust for Public Land.
TPL is working with communities across the country on the following critical projects to expand outdoor access and equity:
The Transportation and Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill includes:
- $2.5 million for Chattahoochee River Greenway in Georgia
- $926,000 for Bronx Community Parks in New York City
- $2.5 million for the Long Island Greenway in New York
- $425,000 for a green schoolyard at F. Amadee Bregy School in Philadelphia
- $1.616 million for creation of the Ilwaco Community Forest in Washington state
The Interior appropriations bill includes:
- $4,124,500 for Saguaro National Park expansion in Arizona
- $2.1 million for expansion of the Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont
- $4 million for expansion of Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico
- $2.5 million for expansion of Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge in New England
- $6.05 million for Montana National Wildlife Refuges
- $20 million to support the Montana Great Outdoors Project
- $8.045 million for protecting the Quill Hill to Perham Stream property in Maine
- $2.1 million for the creation of the Spence Mountain Community Forest in Oregon
- $6.125 million for expansion of the Haleakala National Park in Hawaii
- $540,000 for the protection and expansion of Natchez National Historic Park in Mississippi
- $1.95 million for expansion of Zion National Park in Utah
- $7 million for the expansion of Shasta Trinity National Forest in California
- $9 million for Tahoe National Forest in California
- $10.3 million for expansion and protection of Lolo National Forest in Montana
The package also includes a record-high $5.5 million in funding allocated for the U.S. Forest Service’s Community Forest Program as well as the Department of Defense Readiness and Environmental Integration program at $150 million, up $45 million from FY21. Community forests are protected forest lands that contribute to healthy, flourishing communities by offering residents and community members a direct say in how the land is stewarded over time. Trust for Public Land recently released a report exploring the numerous economic benefits provided by community forests created through the Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program (CFP).
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) also received $900 million as provided by the Great American Outdoors Act. This represents the second fiscal year that the law, which provided permanent full and dedicated funding to LWCF, has been in effect. Trust for Public Land, along with LWCF Coalition partners, released an interactive map showcasing trail, park, and outdoor recreation projects in need of this funding.
Created to benefit communities that have historically lacked equitable access to parks and open space, the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program (ORLP) was allocated $110 million. Of the TPL projects selected to receive federal ORLP funding last year was the City of Cleveland’s Clark Avenue Park Development Project, which Trust for Public Land is helping to lead. Clark-Fulton and Stockyards are two of the city’s most densely populated neighborhoods with rich cultural diversity that has characterized the west side of Cleveland for generations.
About Trust for Public Land
Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 3 million acres of public land, created more than 5,000 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $84 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected more than 9 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit tpl.org.