ISSUE BRIEF: Healthy Kids Outdoors Act

 The Issue:  ASLA supports legislation to urge states to encourage outdoor activity and reengagement with nature.  

Background & Analysis

In May 2014, Senator Mark Udall (CO) and Representative Ron Kind (WI) reintroduced the Health Kids Outdoors Act (S. 2367/H.R. 4706). This measure would provide incentives to states to develop five-year strategies to get children and families active in the great outdoors. It would also direct the president of the United States to involve federal agencies and national partners to create a similar plan at the national level and support research to further document the health, conservation, and other benefits of active time spent outdoors in the natural world. The bill also calls for these strategies to supplement current outdoor recreation planning by emphasizing how to use current outdoor recreation resources and infrastructure, such as public parks, transportation and health systems. The plans established under the act must be updated every five years based on evaluations of each state’s strategy and lessons learned from their implementation. Additionally, in order to ensure that state and local partners are contributing to this effort, funding recipients must provide a 25 percent non-federal cost share.

Along with ASLA, other supporters of this bill include the Outdoor Alliance for Kids, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Outdoor Industry Foundation.  Landscape architects are committed to designing the built environment in a way that facilitates and encourages active lifestyles. Landscape architects plan and design outdoor recreation spaces of all sizes, from large parks with passive and active recreation spaces, transportation networks, including bicycle and pedestrian paths and therapeutic and educational gardens.

Additionally, ASLA, as part of the No Child Left Inside Coalition, works alongside allied organizations in support of the No Child Left Inside Act, which encourages environmental education in schools across the country.  These complementary pieces of legislation will help encourage children and their families to make outdoor activity and access to the outdoors part of their daily routines. 


In November 2011, Senator Mark Udall (CO) and Representative Ron Kind (WI) introduced the Healthy Kids Outdoors Act (S. 1802, H.R. 3353).  S. 1802 was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), and H.R. 3353 was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources, and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.


Senator Mark Udall (CO) and co-sponsors
Representative Ron Kind (WI) and co-sponsors

Current Status

S.2367 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

H.R.4706 has been referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

S. 2367
H.R. 4706
Senator Mark Udall (UT) Press Release
Representative Ron Kind (CO) Press Release
Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) Press Release
Statement and background on the bill from Senator Mark Udall
Press Release from the Outdoor Foundation
National Wildlife Federation Brief on Healthy Kids Outdoors

Related ASLA Polices
State, Regional, and Local Parks
Environmental Education


Roxanne Blackwell, 
Esq., Hon. ASLA,
Director of Federal
Government Affairs

Elizabeth Hebron,
Director of State
Government Affairs