Banning Hate: New Penalties Proposed for Bias Crimes in OR Parks or Waterways
Oregon’s new outdoor crime bill will ban people convicted of a bias crime on public lands from re-entering public recreation lands for at least five years.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to increasing use of outdoor spaces, but also increasing reports of biased crime. The bill is intended to protect people of color, LGBT+ individuals, disable people, and other minority groups who face discrimination and biased crime when recreating on public lands.
Outdoor Equity Grant Bill to Support Outdoor Access for Underserved Youth
Colorado established a new Outdoor Equity Grant Program in 2021. The program will offer grants to groups providing outdoor experiences and opportunities to underserved children and families in Colorado. The Colorado Lottery will monetize the Equity Grant Program, which aims to alleviate some of the barriers preventing marginalized communities from engaging in outdoor pursuits.
Expanded Funding for No Child Left Inside
Getting kids outside to explore parks and other wild places will be a bit easier this year thanks to $4.5 million in grants, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced in May 2021.
Awarded by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, the No Child Left Inside grants focus on programs that expand outdoor education and recreation opportunities to under-resourced communities throughout Washington State. This year’s grants will help more than 50,000 kids spend nearly 1.5 million hours outside, doing everything from hiking to kayaking to camping.
A Georgia Interim Committee Will Look at Opportunities to Expand Access to Outdoor Learning
The Georgia Senate recently adopted a resolution to create an Outdoor Learning Study Committee. The bipartisan resolution, sponsored by Sen. Sheikh Rahman, creates a committee to look at issues and needs associated with outdoor learning and issue recommendations. The committee is also encouraged to work with state experts such as local universities and state departments.
Collaboration by nature: Getting children outdoors gets top billing when organizations work together
Cross-organizational collaboration is key to get kids outside. The New Mexico Outdoor Equity Fund is a clear example of the power of collaboration.
The Urgent Need for Nature During and After COVID-19
COVID-19 is exacerbating the critical health benefits of time outdoors, and highlighting the fact that families do not have equitable access. Access to safe, nearby nature must be prioritized as critical public health infrastructure and not just an amenity for a few.
Learning in nature: Washington becomes first in the country to license outdoor preschools
Outdoor preschools are becoming more popular nationwide, encouraging kids to spend more time in nature. Washington just became the first state in the country to officially license them.
Efforts Continue in Minnesota to Create an Office of Outdoor Recreation
Despite broad awareness of the state’s recreation economy and a promising push during the 2019 legislative session, a bill to create the state’s office stalled out.
Effort To Create Outdoor Equity Fund In New Mexico
Low-income youth and their families could soon have expanded opportunities to access state parks, federal public lands, and a variety of outdoor recreation and education opportunities as part of a statewide and national coalition effort to establish an Outdoor Equity Fund in the 2019 New Mexico Legislative Session.