Momentum Builds for Park and Outdoor Equity as Legislation Introduced in the U.S. Senate
Today, Senators John Hickenlooper (D-CO) and Alex Padilla (D-CA) introduced legislation calling for an historic $500 million federal investment in local parks, championing the movement led by the Trust for Public Land with over 300 community organizations and businesses to improve park and outdoor equity in the United States. Companion legislation was introduced Representatives Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA), Mike Turner (R-OH) and Joe Neguse (D-CO) in the U.S. House in March.
The Parks, Jobs, and Equity Act will stimulate the creation of thousands of jobs and economic activity, expand park access for the one-in-three Americans who do not have a close-to-home park, while creating and improving parks in neighborhoods where they are needed most and are disproportionally impacted by the pandemic.
“We need to close the park equity divide that contributes to unacceptable disparities in health, climate resilience, and prosperity for too many people in the United States,” said Diane Regas, President and CEO of The Trust for Public Land. “The Parks, Jobs, and Equity Act will help invest resources in communities that need it most. I’m grateful for the leadership of Senators Hickenlooper and Padilla, as well as Representatives Barragan, Neguse and Turner.”
In May, The Trust for Public Land released a groundbreaking new report, Parks and an Equitable Recovery, that details significant inequities in park space and distribution. Across the 100 most populous U.S. cities, residents of neighborhoods where most people identify as Black, Hispanic and Latinx, Indigenous and Native American, or Asian American and Pacific Islander have access to an average of 44 percent less park space per capita than residents of neighborhoods that are predominantly white. Residents of low-income neighborhoods have access to 42 percent less park space than residents of high-income neighborhoods.
To bring health, climate and community benefits of the outdoors to all, The Trust for Public Land is leading a coalition of more than 300 community organizations to push for federal equity funding. In the early months of the pandemic, The Trust for Public Land with its partners wrote to Congressional Leadership requesting this funding. In May, The Trust for Public Land and its partners wrote to the Biden Administration asking that the legislation be included in the American Jobs Act.
Parks are an essential part of improving public health, protecting vulnerable communities from the impacts of the climate crisis, and building strong community cohesion. Yet, 100 million people, including 28 million kids, do not have access to a quality park within a 10-minute walk from home.
About The Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live near a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit www.tpl.org.