Message from Mark Young:
As a member of NRPA's Public Policy Committee, I wanted to share the 2017 legislative advocacy platform with Academy members. Parks, recreation and conservation fared well in the 114th Congress of 2015/2016. In the reauthorized multi-year federal education bill called the Every Student Succeeds Act, environmental education was included as a fundable subject for the first time ever. When partnering with schools, parks and recreation agencies are eligible for grants for environmental/outdoor education programs. The Land & Water Conservation Fund was reauthorized for three years, and the State/Local Assistance Program was funded at a higher level than in recent years. The multi-year reauthorized federal surface transportation bill called the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) recognizes biking and walking infrastructure as part of our multi-modal transportation system. Funding for Transportation Alternatives Set Aside ($800 million+) and the Recreational Trails Program ($85 million) is stable.
The recently seated 115th Congress will present new challenges and opportunities for parks and recreation advocates. The 2017 Advocacy Platform is built on NRPA's three organizational pillars - health & wellness, conservation and social equity. More information will be provided on policies, programs and appropriations as the New Year unfolds.