Victory! Congress Approves Vital Funding for Public Lands
The Great American Outdoors Act has passed the Senate and the House. With full funding for the Land and Water Conversation Fund and $9.5 billon for the backlog of maintenance on federal lands, the Great American Outdoors Act is a historic piece of public lands legislation. Thank you for helping to make it happen!
UPDATE: It's official. On Aug. 4, the Great American Outdoors Act was signed into law!
On Wednesday, July 22, the Great American Outdoors Act passed the House of Representatives, meaning that the bill has been passed by Congress and moves onto to the president’s desk for final approval! This is the largest hurdle in the process, and now, new funding for public lands is on the horizon.
We're thankful for all the work members of Washington's congressional delegation have done to make this dream a reality. And thank you to the many hikers who used their voice to speak up for trails and public lands. With this passage puts us one step closer in making our dream of trails for everyone, forever, a reality.
Be sure to thank your representatives for all their hard using the form at the bottom of this post!
Two pieces of legislation that WTA has long advocated for — full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and funding to address the backlog maintenance on federal lands — recently passed the Senate and are now moving onto the House. The two pieces of legislation were folded into one historic bill, the Great American Outdoors Act, earlier this year. This bill could have huge, positive impacts for public lands, and we need your help to make it a reality.
If passed into law, the Great American Outdoors Act would take massive steps towards addressing two of WTA's largest advocacy priorities.
The two highlights of the bill are:
- Permanent funding ($900 million annually) for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
- $1.9 billion funding (annually for the next five years) for priority deferred-maintenance projects on federal lands.
What this means for the Land and Water Conservation Fund
Though LWCF was permanently reauthorized earlier this year, it was not permanently funded. The reauthorization protected its status as an integral program to support projects like land acquisition and recreation investments. With the permanent funding laid out in the Great American Outdoors, LWCF would be allocated $900 million each year. Washington residents have long benefited from this program through its funding of projects across the state. With this permanent funding, these investments would become regular occurrences.
What this means for the federal maintenance backlog
The Great American Outdoors Act directs $285 million of deferred maintenance funding to go directly to the U.S. Forest Service. This is one of the biggest infusions of funding for this backlog in recent years. The remainder of the $1.9 billion would be split between the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Education.