|Zion National Park. Photo by author.
You’ve heard the refrain many times before: If Congress doesn’t act by x date, y funding for z programs will be cut. Well, the song remains the same for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), whose funding over the last 50 years has provided more than $4 billion in matching grants for projects such as parkland acquisition and facility development, including the acquisition of California’s Big Sur coast and Harpers Ferry in West Virginia. The fund sunsets in September if Congress does not act in time.
Fortunately, the City Parks Alliance (CPA) has released an excellent report on the subject detailing the variety of benefits that come from investing in our state and urban parks: promoting public health, generating jobs, attracting residents and businesses, leveraging private-sector investment, and lowering infrastructure costs for cities. Of course, not all benefits are measurable, like beauty, but they underly what we quantify.