WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today’s bipartisan vote in the U.S. Senate to begin consideration of the Great American Outdoors Act is years in the making and signals a strong desire by Congress to fund initiatives that will create jobs, stimulate the economy, expand recreation opportunities and preserve our nation’s public lands. The legislation includes permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund as well as money for deferred maintenance projects at national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and Bureau of Land Management lands.
“It is encouraging to see Congress set aside partisan rancor over our country’s public lands, delivering jobs today and the full promise of the Land and Water Conservation Fund to future generations,” said Tracy Stone-Manning, associate vice president for public lands at the National Wildlife Federation. “This legislation will create jobs, boost the outdoor recreation economy and expand access to parks and public lands, which will be critical for the mental and physical health of Americans as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Great American Outdoors Act was sponsored by Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) and has over 55 co-sponsors.
“Over the past five decades, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has provided nearly $300 million for parks, trails and other public lands in Colorado. Voting for permanent funding for this successful conservation program will bring much-needed jobs into our state, fuel our outdoor recreation economy and ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy hiking, hunting, fishing and so much more on our beloved public lands,” said Suzanne O’Neill, executive director of the Colorado Wildlife Federation.
“The Great American Outdoors Act represents a win for our state economies, for our public lands and waters and for everyone who loves the great outdoors. This bipartisan legislation will put people back to work, while creating and maintaining public lands where we can go for solace and healing,” said Angie Rosser, executive director of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition.
For over five decades, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has created and maintained local, state and national parks, hiking and biking trails, waterfront access, historic sites and much more in every ZIP code in America. Last year, Congress voted to permanently reauthorize this successful conservation program. The Great American Outdoors Act will ensure full and permanent funding for it. In addition, it will provide funding for five years to address the backlog of maintenance needs in our national parks, forests and wildlife refuges. America’s outdoor recreation economy supports over 7.6 million jobs and over $887 billion in annual economic output.
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