This summer, all Americans should celebrate the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act, the most significant conservation legislation in a generation. Since President Trump signed this on Aug. 4, much needed projects to restore our public lands, national parks, and open spaces will commence, and the Land and Water Conservation Fund will see renewed funding in perpetuity. In fact, the GAOA is expected to create more than 100,000 new jobs to repair park infrastructure, including roads and bridges in adjacent communities that are struggling from a lack of tourism in this current pandemic.
This bipartisan, bicameral legislative victory did not come easily. It took decades of grassroots work and the tireless support of conservation champions in Congress to see permanent funding of the LWCF – a conservation program paid for by royalties from offshore oil and gas drilling in federal waters that typically receives less than half of its allotment. The LWCF helps fund the four main federal land programs (National Parks, National Forests, Fish and Wildlife, and Bureau of Land Management) and provides grants to acquire land for recreation and conservation. We needed this.
As a life member of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers–a bipartisan group of approximately 30,000 advocates for wild places–I would like to thank U.S. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally and U.S. Reps. Ruben Gallego, Raul Grijalva, Ann Kirkpatrick, Tom O’Halleran, David Schweikert and Greg Stanton for voting YES on the Great American Outdoors Act. Your vote for this landmark legislation will help ensure our outdoor traditions and sustain our public lands, waters, and wildlife for the benefit of future generations.