Chapter V: Financing
HISTORY OF FINANCING RECREATION
As the country grew, various cities continued this policy of providing open spaces within their corporate limits. As the years went by the wisdom of this early provision became more evident, and with the demand of the public for a more diversified use of such spaces our municipal park and playground systems have developed and increased appropriations for such purposes have been made. In 1930 municipalities and counties provided approximately $140,000,000 for their park and recreation systems. In common with expenditures for other services of local governments this figure was substantially decreased during the recent economic emergency until in 1935 it represented about half that amount. Since 1935, however, expenditure for this purpose has been steadily increasing.
State Governments. When the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1641 decreed by ordinance that great pondsbodies of water over 10 acres in extentbe forever open to the public for fishing and fowling, recognition was given to the fact that provision for recreation beyond the corporate limits of cities should be made by the larger units of government. Further attention to such provision was given by the State of California in 1865 and by New York, Minnesota, and Connecticut in the 1880's and at that time these States began providing funds for State park purposes.
Previous to 1934 only nine States had provided annual appropriations in any considerable amount for State park and related work. These included Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Rhode Island (Table A). South Dakota had provided adequately for Custer State Park but had not developed a State-wide system. Since 1933 California, Massachusetts, Washington, Missouri, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Louisiana, Kentucky, Oregon, Tennessee, and New Jersey have improved their financing to the extent that they may be listed as fairly well financed systems.
TABLE A. Expenditures for State parks, fiscal year, 193334
2 No State park system.
3 Heyburn State park only.
4 Reported as State park expenditures but used mostly for fish and game program.
5 Not reported.
6 Special for land acquisition.
7 Hot springs and Saratoga Hot Springs State parks only.
Twenty-one States have made their first specific appropriations to State park agencies responsible for the development of State-wide systems, since 1932. Of these Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia have made beginnings which augur well for the future.
A great impetus to the expansion of State park work came with the establishment of the Civilian Conservation Corps by Executive Order in April 1933. Through this agency nearly $300,000,000 has been expended on work performed under the technical supervision of the National Park Service on State, county, and metropolitan parks, which has caused the States to establish various types of administrative organizations, acquire new areas, assist in development and provide budgets for the operation and use of the parks.
Federal Government.1 The Federal Government recognized the preservation of scenery and its use for recreation of one kind or another when it turned the Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove over to California to be a State park. It recognized these objectives again in 1872 when it created Yellowstone National Park; subsequently when it created additional national parks; and again in 1916 when Congress authorized the creation of the National Park Service. Financial support of the Service's activities has steadily increased; in 1929 it amounted to $4,524,647, while in 1938 it was $14,395,930.
The United States Forest Service has been evincing an increasing interest in recreation in connection with the national forests as evidenced by the growth in expenditures for the administration of recreation from $65,028 in 1929 to $588,892 in 1938, the most rapid increase occurring in the past four years.
The Tennessee Valley Authority, in carrying out its major functions of improving navigation and providing for flood control and the generation of electric power, has created valuable recreational resources in the form of extensive lakes and, in addition, has developed parks and freeways. Through 1938 the Authority expended $184,490 on development of these areas (in addition to Civilian Conservation Corps expenditures) and $98,610 on maintenance and operation.
Likewise, in the work of the Bureau of Reclamation of the Department of the Interior, construction projects such as Boulder Dam have created important recreational resources the cost of which is allocated to other purposes. The recreational features in connection with the Boulder Dam area are now under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service. Similarly, the War Department, through its navigation and flood control projects, has added materially to the recreational resources of the country.
The Work Projects Administration has expended large sums for the development of recreational facilities as well as for the organization and conduct of recreational programs. To January 1, 1939, $681,319,000 was spent by this agency on parks and other recreational facilities (exclusive of buildings) and on recreational activities. The Federal Emergency Relief Administration spent $124,763,840 for recreational facilities and approximately $8,894,000 on recreational leadership. Comparable classifications of project expenditures under the Civil Works Program are not available. The largest proportion of WPA, CWA, and FERA funds was expended on local areas and a similar proportion of CCC funds was spent on State areas.
The Public Works Administration expended $2,668,166 on Federal recreational projects, loaned $7,997,700 to States and local communities, and made grants of $7,302,799 to such government units for recreational development.