WeConservePA sent the following letter to President Pro Tempore of the Pennsylvania Senate, the Honorable Kim Ward, on June 20, 2024. 

Re. Fund Healthy Outdoors for All Program

Dear President Pro Tempore Ward:

On behalf of the 75 member organizations of WeConservePA and their more than 100,000 Pennsylvania members, I urge you to include a one-time injection of $80 – 100 million into a Healthy Outdoors for All Program for the 2024-2025 budget year, as advocated for by the Growing Greener Coalition.

This focused boost in the rehabilitation, upgrade, and strategic expansion of local park, trail, and other outdoor spaces will attract and leverage substantial philanthropic dollars and volunteer energy. Such local capital 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.
  • Support for urban and rural disadvantaged communities alike.
  • Closure of gaps in volunteer and local government trails and trail networks.
  • More people 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.

Thank you for your consideration.

Andrew M. Loza, Executive Director

Download the letter as a PDF