Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Hillary Clinton Wants to Expand Outdoor Opportunities with "American Parks Trust Fund"

I don't wade into the world of politics all that often, but on occasion there are some stories that are likely to be of interest to outdoor enthusiasts and travelers that are worth sharing. For instance, recently Hillary Clinton – who is running for president in the U.S. – announced her plan for the environment, which includes provisions for encouraging more people to get outside and enjoy the world around us.
At the heart of Clinton's plan is the formation of an "American Parks Trust Fund," which is designed to help expand the outdoor economy while also revitalizing local, state, and national parks across the U.S. The plan would also involve expanding the possibilities for Americans to get outdoors, with new trails initiatives, expanded park systems, and other options for creating outdoor spaces for everyone to take advantage of.

In the six-point plan that was released last week it is explained that the U.S. National Park System has a $11.5 billion backlog of work that needs to be done, including updating infrastructure, modernizing facilities, and repairing worn out equipment. Clinton's plan would address that shortfall, while also doubling the Land and Water Conservation Fund allocations to expand outdoors opportunities and to support the National Parks.

Additionally, the Clinton plan would add new units to the parky system as well, expanding the monuments and protected areas that fall under the Park Service's purview. While no specific sites are named in the brief, the new sites are expected to help celebrate under-represented cultures and people, with historically and culturally significant places beings pulled into the system.

Voting for someone on a single platform isn't really a great idea, but this plan is certainly an interesting one. It now looks like Clinton will be running against Donald Trump this fall, and it will be interesting to see if he has any plans that are similar. It'll also be interesting to see how either one of them plans to pay for these initiatives as well. Erasing the $11+ billion Park Service shortfall will be a challenge in and of itself, but doubling the money for the cause will be a significant hurdle to say the least. Of course, we're in the phase where candidates promise the moon and figure out how to pay for them later. Still, it is great to see that outdoor issues are being addressed ahead of the November elections.

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