Open Letter to Members of the General Assembly
Re. Funding Healthy Outdoors for All Program

The partner organizations of the Growing Greener Coalition, on behalf of our hundreds of thousands of supporters and together with hundreds of allied organizations across the Commonwealth, urge you to ask your leadership to include a one-time injection of $80 – 100 million into a Healthy Outdoors for All Program for the 2024-2025 budget year.

Specifically, the Growing Greener Coalition seeks a focused boost in state investment in local capital projects to achieve the rehabilitation, upgrade, and strategic expansion of local park, trail, and other outdoor spaces. These projects will attract and leverage substantial local philanthropic dollars and volunteer energy. Such projects, which are well-proven to deliver substantial and long-term benefits to communities, for the most part have not had access to the robust federal funding available for so many other efforts.

Investment results will include:

  • Rehabilitation, restoration, and upgrading of infrastructure heavily impacted by increased public use of parks, preserves, trails, greenways, neighborhood gardens, and other public open spaces during both the pandemic and post-pandemic era.
  • Strategic expansions of facilities to relieve overuse of facilities strained by the increased demand and expand benefits delivered to the public.
  • Greater outdoor recreational opportunities for disadvantaged communities, whether urban or rural.
  • Closure of gaps in volunteer and local government owned and managed trails and trail networks.
  • More Pennsylvanians getting the health benefits of recreating in safe and friendly spaces.
  • Expansion and improvement of quality wildlife habitat.
  • Reductions in flood damage and improved water quality.

The investment will be made via state grants to local governments and nonprofits that are vetted through DCNR’s well-established, objective, accountable system.

For more information, please reach out to the people of the Growing Greener Coalition’s partner organizations, including the following contacts:

Audubon Mid-Atlantic
Jim Brown, Policy Director
[email protected]

Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Julia Krall, PA Executive Director
[email protected]

Conservation Voters of PA
Katie Blume, Political & Legislative Director
[email protected]

Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds
Deb Nardone, Executive Director
[email protected]

Lancaster Farmland Trust
Jeff Swinehart, President & CEO
[email protected]

Natural Lands
Kelly Herrenkohl, Vice President, Communications and Engagement
[email protected]

Patrick McDonnell, President and CEO
[email protected]

Pennsylvania Environmental Council
John Walliser, Senior Vice President
[email protected]

Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation
Marci Mowery, President
[email protected]

Pennsylvania Recreation & Park Society
Tim Herd, CEO
[email protected]

Sierra Club PA Chapter
Jen Quinn, Legislative and Political Director
[email protected]

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
Tom Sexton, Northeast Regional Director
[email protected]

The Conservation Fund
Kyle D. Shenk, Northeast Region Director
[email protected]

The Trust for Public Land
Owen Franklin, PA State Director
[email protected]

Andrew M. Loza, Executive Director
[email protected]

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
Cynthia Carrow, Vice President
[email protected]

Download a PDF of the letter.