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Huge Public Lands Win as Senate Approves The Great American Outdoors Act2 min read

In a bipartisan vote of 73-25, the Senate just passed the Great American Outdoors Act! Now the bill is headed back to the House where it should pass easily and then to the President’s desk. Here’s a quick breakdown on the bill:

Fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), America’s most important conservation and recreation program has protected, preserved, and expanded the places you love to hike in nearly every state and every county in the U.S. for 50 years, including nearly 1,000 trail projects. This legislation guarantees that funding is available for future generations to continue to conserve our public spaces.

The bill would permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to address the backlog of recreation and conservation needs in every state and county across the country.

LWCF

  • 1,000 trail projects nationwide
  • Protects access to open spaces
  • New outdoor recreation opportunities
  • Projects in all 50 states and nearly every county
  • Creates and improves local parks
  • Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program (ORLP) to address outdoor recreation deficits in cities and urban areas and improve access for all.

Address the Maintenance Backlog on Public Lands

There is a nearly $22 billion backlog of maintenance projects across our public lands. When annual maintenance needs go unaddressed, long-term problems arise, seriously hampering the public’s access to outdoor recreation. Closed trails, out-of-service restrooms, campgrounds in poor conditions, and impassable roads are only a few of the barriers that hikers face.

The bill would provide $9.5 billion over five years from energy development revenues on federal land and water to address the most pressing deferred maintenance infrastructure needs within the National Park Service, Forest Service,  Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Indian Education.

Public Lands Maintenance Backlog

  • $20 billion backlog across all public lands.
  • $800 million est. trail maintenance backlog
  • Legislation addresses top maintenance needs at National Parks, Forests, Wildlife Refuges, and BLM sites.
  • Restores trails, campgrounds, road, visitor centers, and other infrastructure
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