HCR 4: Urging the Governor to establish the Office of Outdoor Equity.
00 HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 4 01 Urging the Governor to establish the Office of Outdoor Equity. 02 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 03 WHEREAS it is widely recognized that outdoor recreation promotes physical and 04 mental health and well-being; and 05 WHEREAS outdoor recreational activities are associated with social benefits, 06 including intrapersonal and interpersonal development, active citizenship, environmental 07 awareness, increased cognitive function in children, and crime reduction; and 08 WHEREAS, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, outdoor recreation has 09 become increasingly popular, as one of the safer ways to get exercise; and 10 WHEREAS outdoor recreation areas in the state employed many financially impacted 11 Alaskans during the COVID-19 pandemic and have the potential to continue to provide 12 financial security for unemployed Alaskans moving forward; and 13 WHEREAS, even though the population of the United States is becoming 14 increasingly diverse, evidence shows that many minorities do not enjoy equal opportunities to 15 get outdoors and recreate, as illustrated by one study that found minorities to be 16 underrepresented among visitors to the national forests; and
01 WHEREAS, when asked in quantitative studies, ethnic minorities disproportionately 02 cite time, money, personal safety, language, and transportation as barriers to participating in 03 outdoor recreation; and 04 WHEREAS evidence indicates that one of the major contributors to ethno-racial 05 disparities in outdoor recreation is a lack of access to culturally relevant information; and 06 WHEREAS, because outdoor recreation can be costly, low-income families often 07 cannot afford to visit the state's parks, trails, beaches, ski hills, and public use cabins; and 08 WHEREAS, in 2019, California and New Mexico passed legislation to help fund 09 outdoor recreational opportunities for individuals and communities that face barriers to 10 getting outside and recreating; and 11 WHEREAS Wyoming and Montana have established free hunting mentorship 12 programs to make recreational and subsistence hunting more accessible to new hunters; and 13 WHEREAS, in 2019, Congress passed the Every Kid Outdoors Act, which provides 14 fourth-grade children and their families free access to public land and waterways; and 15 WHEREAS widespread support currently exists across the country for expanding 16 access to outdoor recreation, with at least 15 bills pending in state legislatures that would 17 increase outdoor education opportunities for youth; and 18 WHEREAS, in January 2021, the United States Department of the Interior 19 exacerbated inequities in outdoor access by defunding the Outdoor Recreation Legacy 20 Partnership (ORLP) program, which provided grant funding for outdoor recreation in low- 21 income communities; and 22 WHEREAS many of the public land, waterway, and recreation areas in the state and 23 around the country continue to bear colonial place names and monuments that replaced 24 Indigenous place names that were used since time immemorial; and 25 WHEREAS many local governments in the state support efforts by Secretary of the 26 Interior Deb Haaland to reinstate Indigenous place names as a matter of historical equity and 27 acknowledgment of Indigenous stewardship; and 28 WHEREAS cases have been documented of hate symbols appearing and 29 discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities occurring in public parks and outdoor 30 recreation areas around the country; and 31 WHEREAS, because everyone deserves an opportunity to recreate in the state's great
01 outdoors, the state has a responsibility to work with existing organizations to get people from 02 all walks of life into the woods, out on the trails, onto the beaches, and out on the water; and 03 WHEREAS many organizations in the state offer discounts, scholarships, and other 04 support to make it possible for low-income students and families to participate in outdoor 05 recreation programs, these resources and programs alone cannot meet the demand for 06 equitable access to the state's outdoor resources; 07 BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature supports the right of all 08 Alaskans to have access to the outdoors, for health, wellness, spiritual, and subsistence 09 reasons; and be it 10 FURTHER RESOLVED that the legislature urges the Governor to establish the 11 Office of Outdoor Equity in the Department of Natural Resources; and be it 12 FURTHER RESOLVED that the legislature requests the Governor to make funds 13 available for the Office of Outdoor Equity to distribute as grants to organizations in the state 14 that are working to improve equitable access to the state's outdoor resources, especially in 15 communities that have historically been excluded from outdoor recreation and subsistence 16 activities.