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Why This Matters: What the pandemic and social distancing requirements are revealing is that many communities do not have enough park and open space — both large cities and suburbs. This is a symptom of the larger global problem of loss of nature and the natural world, and now perhaps the public is beginning to appreciate just how valuable the nation’s park system — our greatest idea — is to our economies and to our overall well being. But going forward, we need even more land preserved for parks and protection and that is why the Land and Water Conservation Fund should be fully funded in perpetuity.
Yellowstone Phased Re-Opening
E&E News reported that 70% of the visitors come through three gates in Montana, and those won’t open until June 1 in order to help communities near Yellowstone get ready for an influx of visitors. The other 30% of visitors go through two entrances in Wyoming and those will open on Monday, but the public can only visit the southern half of the park — including the Old Faithful geyser and popular thermal features nearby at first, and then only for day use.
Grand Canyon Reopening Today
Grand Canyon National Park has a limited and temporary reopening and will allow visitors to access some parts of the South Rim viewpoints, the National Park Service (NPS) announced yesterday. The Hill reported that park visitors can enter picnic areas, restrooms, and some viewpoints, but the hours are limited to 6-10 a.m. Friday through Monday, May 18 and can remain in the park for the day but they will be “encouraged” to leave by sunset.
Land and Water Conservation Fund Creates Parks
The Land and Water Conservation Fund monies are used to protect national parks, areas around rivers and lakes, national forests, and national wildlife refuges from development, and to provide matching grants for state and local parks and recreation projects. But there are too few parks in some parts of the country. A study by a major think tank found that in the country’s 100 largest cities, only half of the residents live within a half-mile of a park, and that is especially true for communities of color and low-income groups, where neighborhoods lack public spaces to exercise, relax, gather, or simply breathe clean air. And as we have seen earlier when the National Parks remained open even as the communities in which they were located started to close down, the National Parks are extremely popular and crowded. Indeed, visits to national parks have seen a 15% increase in the last ten years, but funding grew by less than .5% in real terms, creating a $12 billion repair backlog.
Having access to parks is a key to the quality of life no matter where you live. Today, according to the Trust for Public Land, 100 million Americans don’t have a park within a ten-minute walk from home. They have studied the maps and other data on park access for most of the cities and […]
Yesterday the European Commission announced that it will commit to protecting 30% of the EU’s land and oceans by 2030 (30 by 30) as part of the European Green Deal. In addition to this declaration, the EU will also plant 3 billion trees by 2030 and cut chemical pesticide use by 50% and fertilizer use […]
The National Park Service announced late last week that they would allow some parks to increase access and services in phases on a case by case basis (similar to their closure). They said they would be “following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local public health authorities,” […]
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