Bill Permanently Funds Land and Water Conservation Fund, Deferred Maintenance Backlog
BOULDER, Colo. – Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and its 1,300 member businesses today celebrated the Senate’s passage of the bipartisan “Great American Outdoors Act” (GAOA). Specifically, the bill provides mandatory, permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million a year and addresses the nearly $20 billion deferred maintenance backlog on federal public lands. The bill now awaits action by the U.S House of Representatives.
“As the country takes steps toward economic recovery from COVID-19, federal investment in our public lands and waterways are critical to boost local economies, create thousands of jobs and protect and improve our national parks,” said Lise Aangeenbrug, executive director of OIA. “These investments would also increase community access to nearby parks and trails, helping address gaps between where people live and nearby opportunities. In turn, more Americans will benefit from the health and well-being that parks and trails provide.”
“Permanent federal investment in the Land and Water Conservation Fund is an essential part of stimulating recovery here in Montana and across the United States,” said Casey Sheahan, CEO of Simms Fishing Products. “Simms and the entire outdoor industry are working to foster happy, healthy and thriving families, despite the obstacles, but it requires resources like those provided through the Great American Outdoors Act to support the increase in people who are spending time outdoors.”
The bill received broad bipartisan support from legislators and stakeholders. It was sponsored by Senators Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and cosponsored by Senators Steve Daines, R-Mont.; Angus King, I-Maine; Mark Warner, D-Va.; Rob Portman, R-Ohio; Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; Richard Burr, R-N.C.; and 51 other senators. GAOA also received the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the past six former U.S. secretaries of the interior, including Ryan Zinke and Sally Jewell. The bill would also direct much-needed funding to support Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools, with as much as $475 million being provided over the next five years.
To learn more about the Great American Outdoors Act, click here.
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 1300 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 outdoorindustry.org.