Sunburst 2 Zach Berens, formerly editor extraordinaire of LAist and current KCET blog editor-in-chief, tipped me off about his in-depth article on what the Obama adminstration’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative could mean for Southern California.

The program, which launched last year, aims to preserve our existing open spaces, encourage more people to get outside to enjoy them, and – most importantly – assist local conservation groups in their efforts to acquire new land and preserve the land they’ve already saved.

Indeed, $900 million is being put up to assist local groups, and the KCET post lays out what those funds are likely to go to preserve our local wilderness — from helping the San Gabriel Mountains Forever Coalition get National Recreation Area status for huge swaths of the Angeles National Forest to boosting the chances of the California Desert Protection Act‘s passage and even improving conditions and reducing off-roading impact at the Imperial Sand Dunes. Support could also head toward more local projects like the L.A. River Restoration or maybe even buying some private land in the Santa Monica Mountains (or near Runyon, too).

And the best part? The initiative is being predominantly funded by oil royalties! With our state parks under a seemingly constant threat of closure, it’s nice to see government still able to chip in a bit for environmental protection and working with local groups that probably have a better idea of how to best spend the money.

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