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Landmark Legislation Puts Funding for LWCF and Federal Trail Maintenance Backlog in Reach

Posted by Christina Hickman at Mar 12, 2020 04:13 PM |
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Landmark legislation for federal public lands has been introduced in the Senate. The Great American Outdoors Act includes both permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and billions of dollars to address the maintenance backlog on federal lands. Keep up-to-date on this historic moment!

Landmark legislation for federal public lands has been introduced in the Senate.

This winter, WTA was in Washington, D.C. talking to our congressional delegation about the importance of public lands and trails. We are delighted to report that two of the bills we had been working for have now been packaged together as the Great American Outdoors Act (S. 3422). The act would fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million per year and provide $1.9 billion per year for five years into the “National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund.”

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The Pacific Crest Trail is helped by LWCF, which would receive full funding in the newly introduced Great American Outdoors Act. Photo by trip reporter vaguswonder.

WTA and the outdoor community have been working hard and speaking up for this funding for years, and to see both pieces of legislation come together simultaneously is incredibly exciting.

The legislation brings together full, permanent funding for LWCF S. 1081 (116) and addresses a maintenance backlog — legislation formerly introduced as the Restore Our Parks Act S. 500 (116) — for the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Indian Education and the U.S. Forest Service.

For years, WTA has strongly advocated for funding for the Forest Service to be included in the Restore Our Parks Act due to the significant maintenance backlog in national forests.

The Great American Outdoors Act has strong bipartisan support in the Senate as well as co-sponsorship by both of Washington’s U.S. Senators, Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray. Sen. Cantwell has worked tirelessly to support LWCF by leading the effort for both its permanent reauthorization and the permanent funding.

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WTA staff joined with Senator Maria Cantwell for a rally for permanent LWCF reauthorization in 2019. 

Sign up to get alerts and stay tuned for official word that it has passed the Senate and moved to the House of Representatives!

Comments

Steve Ghan on Landmark Legislation Puts Funding for LWCF and Federal Trail Maintenance Backlog in Reach

I know this legislation has now passed the Senate, but what I don't understand is why it the LWCF needed permanent authorization again. I thought the LWCF was permanently authorized in March 2019. See, e.g., https://www.doi.gov/pressreleases/bernhardt-applauds-signing-bipartisan-public-lands-bill. Can someone explain why permanent authorization was needed again?

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Steve Ghan on Jun 18, 2020 04:41 PM