WASHINGTON, DC — Earlier today, the United States Senate passed the Great American Outdoors Act by a vote of 73-25. The bill now moves to the House for final passage. This act would fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a popular program that invests in national parks, public lands, and communities across the country. LWCF would improve access points, expand trails and services, and create new parks and outdoor greenspaces at no cost to US taxpayers. The Great American Outdoors Act would also provide billions of dollars to help address the backlog of deferred maintenance in America’s national parks.
Phil Francis, Chair of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, issued the following statement in reaction to the news:
“The Senate’s passage of the Great American Outdoors Act is a momentous occasion. We applaud the bi-partisan effort and thank all the Senators who supported this act. It is one more huge step forward in supporting and restoring our national parks.
Passage of the Great American Outdoors Act, which includes full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, is long overdue. It is the necessary next step to fulfill LWCF’s promise to the American people; to preserve nationally significant public lands and provide recreational opportunities in communities across the country.
In addition, this act will address the crippling $12 billion deferred maintenance backlog at our national parks, a step that is critical to the continued protection and preservation of our treasured natural and cultural resources. With over 40,000 years of collective experience working in national parks, we know what a difference this funding can make on the ground.
“Today, we celebrate. But our work is not done. We urge the House and this administration to move swiftly to advance the Great American Outdoors Act over the finish line.”
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The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks represents over 1,800 current, former, and retired employees and volunteers of the National Park Service, with over 40,000 collective years of stewardship of America’s most precious natural and cultural resources. Recognized as the Voices of Experience, the Coalition educates, speaks, and acts for the preservation and protection of the National Park System, and mission-related programs of the National Park Service. More information can be found at https://protectnps.org