September 24, 2015

Parks matter for our kids. More time spent outdoors, connecting with nature and with family, brings tremendous health benefits to children – from decreased obesity to improved distance vision. New Mexico families benefit from numerous parks around the state that boast a collection of landscapes that are as diverse as they are beautiful. Many of these parks were made possible, in full or in part, by the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). That fund is in danger, however, as it is set to expire if Congress takes no action by September 30.

For 50 years, the LWCF has funded dozens of parks and outdoor recreation areas in New Mexico for our kids and families to enjoy with moneys collected from the proceeds of offshore oil drilling. Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge and Petroglyph National Monument are just two of the parks that LWCF helped fund in our state, but they are two of the most critical because they are located in urban Albuquerque and give kids and their families easy access to safe recreation and education opportunities.

Over the summer, members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation have made a strong stand for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and for the parks that help keep our kids healthy. U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich and U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham visited Petroglyph National Monument in August to restate their commitment to the LWCF and its positive impact on children and families. Earlier this month, Sen. Tom Udall visited the breath-taking Valles Caldera National Preserve to take the same stand. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan also supports reauthorizing the fund.

We are fortunate to have representatives in Congress willing to fight for important quality-of-life programs that enrich our state. With Sen. Udall’s position as ranking member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, and Sen. Heinrich’s seat on the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, our delegation is well-positioned to fight to keep LWCF in place and make a difference in our children’s lives for years to come.

We appreciate their leadership, and we also know that it’s not always easy to be a leader. To make sure that Sen. Udall, Sen. Heinrich, Rep. Lujan Grisham and Rep. Lujan know that New Mexico supports their strong stance on the LWCF, sign New Mexico Voices for Children’s petition today. Let’s thank our congressional leaders for taking a stand for parks and a stand for healthy kids.