Richard Louv

Recipient of the Audubon Medal

Author of the National Bestseller Last Child in the Woods

Blog Posts: October 2011

SAVING THE FIELDS OF DREAMS: Building 'Natural Cultural Capacity' to Enrich Our Parks and Cities

Despite some signs of progress, the impact of recession on public access to the natural world is a reality, and it could get worse. 

Take California, for instance. In coming months, as many as 70 parks, many of them in or near urban areas will close, according to California State Parks Director Ruth Coleman. This, she says, is the only way to absorb a $33 million parks budget cut over the next two years. “California has never closed its parks in its history, through two world wars and the Great Depression," Coleman said two weeks ago, in her keynote speech at the annual C&NN Grassroots Gathering.

Never, until now. During the Great Depression state and national parks were valued not only for the nature they preserved but for the jobs they provided and their positive economic impact on nearby private businesses. That was then, this is now. A different political climate, changing economic realities, and the widening gap between rich and poor could, literally, change the landscape.
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