WILMINGTON, Del. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, was joined by officials from the City of Wilmington, Delaware Nature Society, Delaware Wildlands and Delaware Parks at Father Tucker Park in Little Italy to highlight the Great American Outdoors Act, bipartisan legislation recently passed by the U.S. Senate that would fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
Father Tucker Park has been a cornerstone of the Little Italy neighborhood for years, providing a place for children to play, an open green space and picnic area for community gatherings, and a baseball field home to a host of adult sports league activities. Every year, the Italian Festival welcomes more than 120,000 visitors to the park for a week of events. In 2017, Father Tucker Park received more than $300,000 in federal funding from the LWCF.
“Here in the heart of Little Italy, Father Tucker Park brings together people of all ages and from all walks of life. This park is a cornerstone of Wilmington’s Little Italy community, providing a safe place for children to play and an open space for people to gather together,” Senator Carper said. “By fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Great American Outdoors Act would ensure that parks, refuges, bike trails and other greenways across our state continue to receive federal funding and support. This bill is not just about land preservation. As we can see here in Father Tucker Park, this funding can help to expand horizons, uplift our communities and connect us to one another.”
“We are on the verge of a truly history conservation victory as we near final passage of the Great American Outdoors Act, which will ensure our unrivaled natural treasures and outstanding outdoor recreational spaces endure for future generations here in Delaware and all across America. This legislation will also accelerate our economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis by creating hundreds of thousands of good jobs, while expanding outdoor recreational opportunities and growing the outdoor economy for every community in the country,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation and former Secretary of Delaware‘s Department is Natural Resources and Environmental Control. “We are grateful for the steadfast leadership of Senator Carper to pass this legislation and we urge the House to act swiftly to pass the bill and send it to the President’s desk.”
“Outdoor spaces are a respite during difficult times and we must ensure they are accessible and welcoming for everyone,” said Delaware Nature Society Executive Director Anne Harper. “The Great American Outdoors Act makes permanent the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which has benefitted the White Clay Creek, Fox Point, Bellevue, and Killens Pond State Parks, among others. The Act will supplement the National Coastal Resilience Fund to protect economically disadvantaged neighborhoods from increased flooding. That funding was used for the South Wilmington Wetland Park to create additional community spaces while restoring 14 acres of degraded wetlands. So much good work has been done and so much good work still needs to be done.”
“Since our founding nearly 60 years ago, Delaware Wild Lands has protected 31,600 acres of land, 21,600 acres that we actively manage for clean air, pure water, healthy farms and forests, and high quality habitat. Just as DWL works to protect ecological diversity and an interconnected variety of wildlife habitats, we also recognize the critical importance of diversity in our neighborhoods and communities and that we all need outdoor places for respite, relaxation, and recreation,” said Kate Hackett, Executive Director of Delaware Wild Lands. “We are grateful to Senator Carper for his continued leadership in important conservation and community issues affecting Delaware. The Senator’s support of the Great Outdoor America Act and the Land and Water Conservation Fund helps protect and improve special places throughout the state AND provide critical employment opportunities for Delawareans during this social and economic upheaval. Investments in the protection, maintenance, and improvements of our parks and open spaces are investments in our communities that can and will help forge and strengthen our relationships with nature and with each other.”
Since the fund’s inception, the state of Delaware has received a total of $61.2 million in federal funding through the LWCF; $24.3 million through the federal land acquisition grants program and $36.9 million through annual allocation to states. This federal funding has supported our national wildlife refuges and projects across Delaware’s state and local parks, including Brandywine Creek, Cape Henlopen and Fox Point State Parks.