President Trump Signs the Great American Outdoors Act into Law
August 4, 2020
The Conservation Community had a good day today, one that will go down as one of the most significant achievements in history for the enhancement and maintenance of our network of federal public lands, and the wild natural resources living there.
“Conservation means development as much as it does protection.”
WSF applauds all our conservation brothers and sisters who worked tirelessly for years to get this deal done.
Here’s a snapshot of what the Great American Outdoors Act will do:
- Provides $9.5 billion over five years to address the crumbling infrastructure on America's public lands and waters.
The National Park Service will receive $6.5 billion, $3 billion of which to repair and maintain public land infrastructure overseen by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management (246 million acres), and the U.S. Forest Service (193 million acres). This is where 25 million hunting and 45 million fishing days take place annually, not to mention recreational shooting and everything else the American public does outdoors. The additional funding will also create over 100,000 employment opportunities to address the maintenance backlog on these lands.
- Provides full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million annually.
Rather than using tax-payer dollars to fund the conservation and management of public lands, LWCF takes a portion of the proceeds from the extraction of one natural resource – offshore oil and gas – and creates a reserve of funds to conserve other natural resources – water and land. LWCF provides $15 million annually to increase public access for hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and other forms of outdoor recreation. It will also help fix the $11.9 billion maintenance backlog facing national parks across the nation, including over $700 million in Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks.
LWCF includes grants to protect working forests, wildlife habitat, critical drinking water supplies, and disappearing battlefields, and increased use of easements.