The National Recreation and Park Association and the National Association of State Park Directors have issued a letter to every member of Congress proposing the creation of a Conservation Construction Corps — a national employment program to put Americans back to work and revitalize local, state and national parks in the U.S.
The proposal, “Real Jobs for Americans,” signed by Barbara Tulipane, CEO of NRPA, and Joe Elton, president of NASPD, discusses the many jobs lost in the country following the crash of the housing industry, as well as the importance of parks and recreation in improving the health and wellbeing of citizens and stimulating local economies.
Similar to the Civilian Conservation Corps launched during the Great Depression, the proposed corps would create jobs for skilled, out-of-work citizens, while providing needed repairs to the country’s aging public parks and recreation facilities, including sanitation systems, deteriorating building exteriors and access roads/bridges.
In the past several years, parks and recreation facilities in the U.S. have experienced severe funding cuts and maintenance backlogs due to hard hits to state and local budgets. In an industry survey administered by NRPA in the spring of 2011, more than 63 percent of responders indicated that they expect agency budget cuts for 2012, and almost 39 percent expect to be impacted by the economic downturn through 2015 or longer.
NRPA and NASPD put forth that a Conservation Construction Corps will provide jobs for Americans, and create “a new legacy of attractive, safe, and usable park and recreation resources for future generations.”
“Our parks were designed to conserve the nation’s natural and cultural treasures and provide outdoor recreation opportunities that address the health and well-being needs of our citizens,” the letter reads. “At the same time, they stimulate outdoor recreation and tourism spending that creates jobs and fuels our economy. They have proven to be a good investment.”
To view the letter, go to www.NRPA.org/media.