Parks eye federal funds for wider pastures

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Conservationists who for years have struggled to win federal funding for new or expanded parks suddenly are seeing green, even in these lean budgetary times.

President Obama has proposed spending $420 million next year to buy land for national parks, forests and wildlife refuges, and to help states fund parks and recreation projects. That is more than double the amount Congress provided for 2009.

…”It is a new day," said Alan Rowsome of the Wilderness Society.

Because Congress still must appropriate the funds, conservationists are working hard to secure the full amount Obama requested -- making the argument that a tough economy is precisely the time to step up land preservation efforts.