The Coalition has called on the Department of Interior to shut down America’s National Parks since the COVID-19 pandemic began. But we also have continued to advocate for long-term solutions needed to protect America’s national parks, and help the gateway communities around them survive the economic devastation caused by the pandemic.
The COVID-19 crisis has revealed how essential America’s national parks and public lands are to the American people. The Coalition feels strongly that the next coronavirus stimulus package should include funding for the Great American Outdoors Act (which enjoys bipartisan support in Congress, and has the President’s approval).
This Act would not only address the backlog of deferred maintenance in our parks, but provide full, permanent funding for LWCF. This funding is needed to create more access points on existing public lands, and build more close-to-home parks and trails across the country. Studies have shown that America’s outdoor recreation economy supports over 7.6 million jobs, contributes over $887 billion in annual economic output, and serves as the lifeblood for countless communities across the country. Every dollar spent on LWCF returns $4 in economic value from natural resource goods and services alone – over and above the economic benefit of the outdoor recreation economy and tourism.
Coalition Chair Phil Francis spoke with several media outlets this week about why Congress should include the Great American Outdoors Act in its next coronavirus stimulus package, and how this funding could protect and maintain America’s public lands while providing critical economic stimulus to local communities.