Opinion

IN RESPONSE | Federal fund gave us many of our outdoor play spaces

Author: Colorado Politics - September 5, 2018 - Updated: September 5, 2018

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Golden Gate Canyon State Park — another local gem supported by the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. (en.wikipedia.org)

Colorado Politics’ recent articles highlighting the importance of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and clarifying which members of our congressional delegation are committed to saving this endangered program have listed some of the areas the LWCF has supported including Colorado’s national parks and monuments.

Those superstar sites are vital, but as families head into the all-consuming soccer season, we want to note that there are many lesser-known local parks and sports fields that also need LWCF support.

The mission of the LWCF is, in part, to ensure access to recreational opportunities for everyone. But with LWCF set to expire on Sept. 30, just four weeks away, moms are concerned. We depend on these recreational areas to get our kids away from the omnipresent screens; to run around outside; to breathe fresh air; to exercise, and to release that seemingly endless energy so they aren’t driving us nuts and climbing the walls. We take them to parks — some of which have actual climbing walls.

LWCF helped to create and now maintain these local treasures and family favorites — places like Evergreen Lake and the Montbello Open Space Park and Environmental Learning CenterIf it is reauthorized and fully-funded, it can create more urban park playgrounds, bike paths, baseball fields, soccer fields and state parks like Roxborough and Golden Gate Canyon.

Congress has allocated funding at different levels throughout the years but nearly every county in Colorado can thank the LWCF for creating outdoor play spaces used by families.

If the program expires, it will mean no new projects. It will mean no federal funds to maintain or improve the existing ones; our local parks could join national parks with a huge backlog of maintenance needs. It will mean less funds to build new sports fields as our state grows, making existing ones as crowded as our roads.

We thank both of our U.S. senators for their support of LWCF. However, only one of them, Sen. Cory Gardner, is a member of the majority party. Republicans are in charge; they set the agenda. They decide what bills get a vote and what doesn’t. Why hasn’t Sen. Gardner used his influence in his own party to ensure that this program is reauthorized?

Certainly, any parent’s priority is that their kids are healthy. We hope the priorities of Coloradans would also be the priority of Sen. Gardner.

We’re counting on you, Sen. Gardner. So are our kids. Please don’t disappoint us: prioritize and save the LWCF.

Jen Clanahan
Colorado Moms Know Best
Denver

Colorado Politics

Colorado Politics

Colorado Politics, formerly The Colorado Statesman, is the state's premier political news publication, renowned for its award-winning journalism. The publication is also the oldest political news outlet in the state, in continuous publication since 1898. Colorado Politics covers the stories behind the stories in Colorado's state Capitol and across the Centennial State, focusing on politics, public policy and elections with in-depth reporting on the people behind the campaigns — from grassroots supporters to campaign managers and the candidates and issues themselves.