Legislators From 28 States Call for Outdoor Equity in Economic Recovery Efforts
More than 100 legislators from 28 states have signed a letter, led by Alaska State Representative Geran Tarr, in support of improved outdoor recreation equity and infrastructure as part of the Biden-Harris administration’s economic recovery efforts. Spending time outdoors has proven to be a safe and easy way for many to stay active during these challenging times. In order to expand the benefits provided by time outside, these state legislators are calling on the Biden-Haris administration to address unequal access to nature and the deteriorating outdoor recreation infrastructure as part of their “Build Back Better” agenda.
While the outdoor recreation industry contributed 2.1% to the American GDP in 2019, there are billions of dollars in deferred maintenance across the National Park System. The employment of Americans to restore outdoor infrastructure would serve the dual purpose of reinvigorating an expanding economic sector and supply much-needed jobs for the nation’s most financially vulnerable.
There is also the opportunity to make access to nature more equitable as we emerge from this pandemic. Access to green space is not evenly distributed among Americans, meaning that less affluent areas and communities of color are less able to reap the physical and mental health benefits provided by time in nature. Small federal grants or an outdoor recreation fund, which has been successfully implemented in New Mexico, can go a long way in empowering underserved communities with new opportunities to spend time outdoors.
The full letter can be viewed here: https://www.ncel.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Outdoor-Equity-Sign-on-Letter.pdf