Right now, we have the opportunity to reimagine outdoor accessibility and how we connect to nature.
At a time when COVID-19 continues to impact our communities and San Diegans are relying on outdoor space more than ever, our Opening the Outdoors Program is focused on increasing access to safe, accessible outdoor space across the County.
Historically many communities in San Diego County have faced significant challenges in accessing outdoor spaces. A decade after the 2010 Parks for Everyone report illuminated disparities in available green space, it remains true that many San Diegans lack critical access to parks and green space. While progress has been made, the 2020 Parks for Everyone report reveals that barriers to equitable access persist.
Communities that suffer from the greatest inequities in usable green space are those with higher concentrations of lower-income households, as well as neighborhoods with greater racial and ethnic diversity.
Through our 2020 Opening the Outdoors grants, we are working with more than a dozen nonprofit partners to enhance accessible green space and promote repeat and reinforcing outdoor experiences for children and families.
Building a Brighter Future, Outdoors
In this moment of national crisis, America’s public lands make our communities stronger and more resilient. The benefits of increase access to green space are well documented – from improved mental health and reduced rates of chronic disease to stronger economic vitality for families and businesses.
Now more than ever, we see the importance of close-to-home access to outdoor recreation. America’s parks, green spaces, and trails make our communities stronger, and the Great American Outdoors Act will help ensure access to our public lands. This bill, which was recently passed by Congress with bipartisan support, will help expand access to parks and public lands so that all communities have equitable access to nature.
The Great American Outdoors Act, which includes full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, fulfills a promise by our public officials to protect local parks and expand access to the outdoors for all individuals and families, especially amid the backdrop of COVID-19 when our country and communities need it most. This work will increase the number of access points on existing public lands and build more close-to-home parks and trails across the to help people get outside, while maintaining safe social distance. Among the many leaders integral in this work, San Diego’s U.S. Representative Mike Levin has championed the full and permanent funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and helped pass the historic conservation and public lands bill.
Together, we can help get more families and youth outdoors, while building a lifelong connection between San Diegans and our natural environment.