Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Seen and Heard: NRPA Members Return from Their Visits on Capitol Hill with Renewed Purpose and Quiet Optimism

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Seen and Heard: NRPA Members Return from Their Visits on Capitol Hill with Renewed Purpose and Quiet Optimism

Article excerpt

After a full day of meeting with legislators, NRPA members came back to a session called "Observations from the Hill," where they shared their experiences with others. The members had gone to the Hill with the main mission of talking to senators and representatives about proposed termination of the Land and Water Conservation Fund state-side assistance programs. The mood was hopeful, as members talked of legislators who were open to hearing about park and recreation issues.

Melvin Cooper from Georgia explained that the visits didn't have the "gloom and doom" his team expected. His group got the sense from most of the legislators they met with that money for some programs would be put back into the budget. Several members said their legislator agreed, but not without sustained interaction and continued information.

Several members were energized from their meetings, and decided to not only keep in touch, but get others involved. Stephanie Pera from Vermont said she was going to mobilize her fellow members to write letters. "Don't let it stop today--go back to your state and do even more. We hit hard today, but we know we can do more to make a difference," she says.

Michal Anne Lord from Texas mentioned that her state had several freshman legislators who were impressionable and hungry for information. She encouraged other members with similar circumstances to make sure to let them know who you are. Member Doug Beck from Maine was told that advocates also needed to set up appointments with legislators while they are on recess. "Our senators told us to meet with them on recess so they could see LWCF projects in person, which would help get the point to them."

Members seemed to agree that showing legislators what needs to be done nationally on a local scale helped. Neil Bedlan from Nebraska provided a history of projects from the state that had been funded through LWCF, and plans to do more next year. …

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