Maite Arce, president and CEO of Hispanic Access Foundation, released the following statement in response:
"Our nation’s public lands should mirror the greatness of America, embody the spirit of our people, and celebrate our historical and cultural achievements. Unfortunately, these lands have not always been reflective of our country’s demographic and ethnic diversity. Many families do not see their culture and history represented in our public parks and public lands. This disconnect is becoming more apparent as the face of our country continues to change at a rapid pace and more urgent to address because the future of our public lands will depend upon public support from all Americans.
"The outdoors provides a connection to our cultural heritage. Recreation and tourism provide employment and financial security to many. Getting outdoors and experiencing nature benefits the physical and mental wellness of youth and adults. For many Latinos and other diverse urban communities our public lands and public parks often provide their only means to experience the outdoors, yet only one third of Latinos live within walking distance of a park.
"With great enthusiasm, we support the reintroduction of the Outdoors for All Act and its commitment to ensuring that a more complete story of America’s rich history, people and places is told through our nation’s public lands. This important legislation will give priority to projects that empower underserved communities, provide job-training to youth, and leverage resources through public-private partnerships.
"We must all continue to build on this legacy, ensuring that public land protection is strengthened, stewards of these lands reflect the diversity of our nation, and all people feel a sense of ownership and pride in their contribution for generations to come."
The Outdoors for All Act permanently establishes and provides mandatory funding for the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Grant Partnership (ORLP), which helps cities address outdoor recreation deficits by supporting projects that create new outdoor recreation spaces, reinvigorate existing parks, and form connections between people and the outdoors. Also, it allocates 20% of the Land and Water Conservation Fund revenues under the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act for the ORLP, with no cost to taxpayers.