America's Great Outdoors: Our Land and Water

Sunset over lake with boat

"My favorite spot along Lake Michigan is Point Betsie Lighthouse in Frankfort, MI. Ever since I was little this spot has given me the opportunity to view the most amazing sunsets." – Katie Morris, Ann Arbor, MI

America has 700 million acres of public lands, including some of the most spectacular and recognizable landscapes in the world. Mount Rushmore, Yosemite National Park, and the Cape Cod National Seashore are America's playgrounds and cathedrals. Public lands provide refuge to people and wildlife alike. America's Great Oudoors means protecting public lands from development, destructive drilling and mining, while ensuring adaquate funding for managing public lands and new aquisitions.

But much of America's outdoors is not publicly owned, over 1 billion acres - more than 50% of the US - is currently managed as cropland, rangeland, or private forest. These private lands are critical for hundreds of species of wildlife, from grassland game birds, like quail and grouse, to frogs, salamanders and snakes. But private land habitat is particularly threatened from development.

Protecting our nation's Great Waters goes hand-in-hand with efforts to protect our nation’s lands, but restoration efforts in many regions are severely hampered by a lack of sufficient funding. From our Great Lakes, to our coasts, to our rivers and estuaries - protecting and restoring Ameirica's Great Waters must be a priority.

NWF's America's Great Outdoors policy asks:

  1. Congress must pass legislation for full and dedicated funding for Land and Water Conservation Fund.

  2. Congress and the Administration must ensure sufficient, funding for restoration and protection of America's Great Waters, private land conservation, and public land and wildlife management agencies.

  3. Energy policies should protect fish, wildlife and water resources.

  4. Congress should expand protections for special lands, waters and wetlands through new designations of wilderness, national monuments, parks, refuges and more. 

"Nights spent camping out under the stars on the banks of the Nanitcoke are one of my greatest memories and reminds me of the connectivity of nature. What happens in the Nanticoke can impact the mainstem of the Chesapeake Bay and beyond." - Ryan Ewing, Annapolis, MD


Photo of flock of mallards
"The Teller Wildlife Refuge has had a profound impact on my life. My first memories of TWR are as a child - early morning duck hunts with my father, I remember the whistle of wings and early morning duck chatter. This is where my conservation ethic was born. Through the acquisition and consolidation of local farms under conservation easements, the TWR continues to provide a respite for wildlife in one of the fastest developing counties in the state." – Land Tawney, Missoula, MT



Learn More About Our Work To Protect America's Public Lands:


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