Annual Legislative Forum brings hundreds to affirm the value of local parks and recreation
ASHBURN, Va., March 26, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With the recent advancement of the Surface Transportation bill in the Senate and the urgency to protect critical funding that supports local public parks and recreation agencies, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) will bring hundreds of professionals and engaged citizens to Washington, DC during the annual National Legislative Forum on Parks and Recreation. Advocates will take to Capitol Hill March 27-29, which could be critical timing considering that transportation reauthorization is due to expire March 31, 2012.
Park and recreation advocates will ask Congress to reauthorize the Surface Transportation Act, and in particular support the Transportation Enhancements (TE) program and Recreational Trails Program (RTP). Both programs make it possible for park and recreation agencies to maintain recreational trails and continue community projects that increase access to and promote safe bicycling and walking, all of which result in improved health and economies. In addition, they'll advocate for other critical federal programs such as the Land and Water Conservation Fund's (LWCF) State Assistance program.
"Eliminating successful programs that help advance our economy and improve the health and safety of local communities isn't sound policy," says Stacey Pine, NRPA Vice President of Government Affairs. "Programs like RTP and TE account for only 1.5 percent of the federal budget yet research indicates that building trail infrastructure creates 46 percent more jobs than building road-only projects for every $1 million spent. Eliminating these programs will have no meaningful impact on the federal budget. "
During Legislative Forum, NRPA, in coordination with the office of Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), will host a briefing on Capitol Hill Wednesday, March 28 to demonstrate the value of public parks and recreation and their impact on improving health and wellness, conservation efforts, and the overall livability and viability of local communities. Representatives from the Trust for America's Health and the American Hiking Society will also participate to lend their support for the role of parks and recreation in creating healthy and environmentally sound communities and the impact of these public services on obesity and incidence of chronic disease.
"Our nation's local parks and recreation are absolutely essential for the economic and environmental vitality as well as physical wellness of communities throughout this country," says Barbara Tulipane, President and CEO of NRPA. "We want Congress to know why supporting local parks and recreation makes sense and just how important programs such as TE, RTP, and LWCF are to the nation's economy and well-being."
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of 20,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy lifestyles, recreation initiatives, and conservation of natural and cultural resources. For more information, visit www.NRPA.org. For digital access to NRPA's flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrec-magazine.org.