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Former National Park Service Employees Praise Senate Movement on Great American Outdoors Act, Urge Swift Passage

WASHINGTON, DC — Late yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Senate would take up the Great American Outdoors Act when it returns next month. The legislation would fully-fund the popular conservation program investing in public lands across the country – improving access points, expanding trails and services, and creating new parks and outdoor green spaces – at no cost to US taxpayers.

In reaction to the announcement, Phil Francis, Chair of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, issued the following statement:

“Passage of the Great American Outdoors Act, which includes full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and provisions to address the backlog of deferred maintenance in our national parks, is long overdue, and we welcome the news that this legislation will be a top priority for the Senate when they return. As life-long stewards of our national parks, we know what a difference this funding can make on the ground, and how needed it is now more than ever.

“Permanent and full funding for LWCF is the necessary next step to fulfill this program’s promise to the American people; to preserve nationally significant public lands and provide recreational opportunities in communities across the country. Addressing the crippling $12 billion deferred maintenance backlog at our national parks is critical to the continued protection and preservation of our treasured natural and cultural resources.

We celebrate this recent turn of events, but we know that our work is not yet done. We must continue to be strong and vocal advocates for our national parks, and we urge Congress to push hard to advance this bill over the finish line.”