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Let the Great American Outdoors Act Stand, Say Leading Outdoor Groups

November 16, 2020

Media Contact

Ryan Taylor
Forbes Tate Partners for Outdoor Industry Association

Tania Lown-Hecht
Outdoor Alliance

Kirsten Blackburn
The Conservation Alliance

BOULDER, Colo. – Leaders from the outdoor industry, including Lise Aangeenbrug, executive director of the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), Adam Cramer, executive director of the Outdoor Alliance, and Brady Robinson, executive director of The Conservation Alliance, issued the following statements today in response to a new order from Interior Secretary David Bernhardt that changes the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) spending process by giving veto-like powers to state and local governments:

“By attempting to rewrite law, the Interior Department is circumventing the intent of the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), the nation’s most significant and celebrated step forward on conservation in decades,” said Lise Aangeenbrug, executive director of the Outdoor Industry Association. “Caring for our nation’s lands and waters not only promotes a thriving planet, but creates enormous returns for local communities, most of whom are still fighting their way through a recovery. This bipartisan achievement came at a moment of deep division, economic anxiety, and yearning for the outdoors. GAOA met the moment. Now Interior must do the same by carrying out the law and distributing LWCF funds as intended.” 

“Today’s secretarial order kneecaps the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Signing the Great American Outdoors Act into law only to undermine its implementation suggests that the administration is more interested in political posturing than actually protecting and maintaining our country’s public lands and waters. Our public lands have already waited too long for the funding they direly need, and to have Interior cancel dozens of projects puts the outdoors at risk,” said Adam Cramer, executive director of the Outdoor Alliance. “Americans love their public lands, and want to see them funded and cared for. With a global pandemic limiting indoor activities and gatherings, this year has seen historic participation in the outdoors and a greater awareness of how much we need to invest to create more equitable access and maintain the places we get outside.” 

“The way in which the Land and Water Conservation Fund was reauthorized and permanently funded – through the overwhelmingly bipartisan passage of the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act in March of 2019, and the Great American Outdoors Act just months ago – proves how public lands unite us, especially in a time of unprecedented uncertainty,” said Brady Robinson, executive director of The Conservation Alliance. “Bernhardt’s secretarial order is just the latest egregious attempt by the Trump Administration to roll back conservation and bedrock environmental laws.” 


About the Outdoor Industry Association 

Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry. OIA unites and serves 1,200 manufacturer, supplier, sales representative and retailer members through its focus on trade and recreation policy, sustainable business innovation and outdoor participation. For more information, visit

About Outdoor Alliance
Outdoor Alliance is a nonprofit coalition of organizations that include American Whitewater, American Canoe Association, Access Fund, International Mountain Bicycling Association, Winter Wildlands Alliance, The Mountaineers, American Alpine Club, the Mazamas, Colorado Mountain Club, and Surfrider Foundation. Outdoor Alliance unites backcountry skiers, hikers, paddlers, mountain bikers, boaters, climbers, and surfers who share a commitment to protecting public lands and waters. For more information, visit

About The Conservation Alliance 

The Conservation Alliance is an organization of like-minded businesses whose collective contributions support grassroots environmental organizations and their efforts to protect wild places where outdoor enthusiasts recreate. Alliance funds have played a key role in protecting rivers, trails, wildlands and climbing areas throughout North America. Membership in the Alliance is open to all companies who care about protecting our most threatened wild places for habitat and outdoor recreation. Since its inception in 1989, The Conservation Alliance has contributed more than $24 million, awarded 720 grants, helped to protect more than 73 million acres of wildlands and 3,575 miles of rivers; stop or remove 35 dams; designate five marine reserves; and purchase 17 climbing areas. For complete information about The Conservation Alliance, visit