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A Study of the Park and Recreation Problem of the United States





Supplemental Foreword


Recreational Habits and Needs

Aspects of Recreational Planning

Present Public Outdoor Recreational Facilities




A Park and Recreational Land Plan

A Study of the Park and Recreation Problem of the United States
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Vernal Falls
Yosemite National Park, California

Chapter V: Financing


Local Governments. In 1565, when the city of St. Augustine in Florida was laid out, provision was made for open spaces for the enjoyment of the public. In 1573, shortly before the town was moved to its present location, the King of Spain set forth certain regulations for the laying out of towns in foreign colonies, containing the following provisions which applied to St. Augustine:

U.S. map

The (main) plaza shall be of oblong form inasmuch as this is best for fiestas in which horses are used and for any other fiestas that shall be held. . . . A commons shall be assigned to the town of such size that although the town continues to grow, there may always be sufficient space for the people to go for 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 ponds—bodies of water over 10 acres in extent—be 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, 1933—34

StateAgency1 1933-34

California Division of Parks, Department of Natural Resources$l50,000.00
Connecticut Division of Parks, State Park and Forest Commission269,017.00
Florida Board of Forestry12,500.00
Idaho Department of Public Works3 2,293.32
Illinois Division of Parks and Memorials, Department of Public Works and Buildings291,466.00
Indiana Division of Lands and Waters, Department of Conservation67,800.00
Iowa Division of Lands and Waters, Department of Conservation110,000.00
Kansas Forestry, Fish, and Game Commission44,767.92
Kentucky Division of Parks, Department of Conservation22,500.00
Massachusetts Division of Parks and Recreation, Department of Conservation40,068.78
Michigan State Parks Division, Conservation Commission84,124.28
Minnesota Division of State Parks, Department of Conservation40,600.00
Missouri State Game and Fish Department4 85,236.07
Nebraska State Game, Forestation, and Parks Commission18,425.00
New Hampshire Forestry and Recreation Commission10,884.52
New Jersey Department of Conservation and Development(5)
New Mexico
New York Division of Parks, Conservation Department4,197,529.23
North Carolina
North Dakota State Historical Society300.00
Ohio Division of Conservation, Department of Agriculture72,851.89
Oregon State Highway Department, Champoeg Memorial Park25,000.00
Pennsylvania Bureau of Parks, Department of Forests and Waters114,750.00
Rhode Island Division of Forests, Parks and Parkways, Department of Agriculture and Conservation117,093.19
South Carolina
South Dakota
Utah State Board of Park Commissioners500.00
Vermont Department of Conservation and Development2,000.00
Virginia Division of State Parks, Conservation Commission6 50,000.00
Washington State Parks Committee15,000,00
West Virginia Department of Conservation70,000.00
Wisconsin State Conservation Commission25,752.09
Wyoming State Board of Charities and Reform7 8,780.00

1 The name given is that of the agency administering the areas for which the expenditures were made in 1933-34.

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.

1 Figures quoted in this section, unless otherwise indicated, refer to the period from 1933 through the fiscal year 1938.

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.

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