The LWCF Coalition declared a resounding victory today for public lands, conservation and outdoor recreation in the United States. The signing of the Great American Outdoors Act by President Donald J. Trump, “a once-in-a-generation win for public lands and communities,” is the culmination of a decade long campaign by the LWCF Coalition to secure full and dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF),” said Lesley Kane, co-chair of the LWCF Coalition.
“Today marks a new era for conservation that will benefit every single American,” said Kane. “The extraordinary impact of this program is felt all across the country, from the multi-billion-dollar outdoor recreation economy and the millions of jobs it supports to the trails, rivers, and public land access it provides for sportsmen and women and outdoor enthusiasts, and from urban parks to our majestic national parks and forests.”
The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) also today celebrated the Great American Outdoors Act being enacted into law and the President’s signing. The historic conservation bill will provide $900 million in annual funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and address the nearly $20 billion deferred maintenance backlog on federal public lands.
“Making the ‘Great American Outdoors Act’ law accomplishes what the outdoor industry has always endeavored to do – support thousands of jobs, open up access to outdoor areas for more people, and give local communities more tools to thrive economically,” said Lise Aangeenbrug, executive director of OIA. “This achievement is all the more important in today’s environment as it will bring much-needed hope back to communities and businesses reliant on outdoor recreation.
“As many Americans are coming to more deeply understand the benefits the outdoors can provide, a solid federal infrastructure for our nation’s parks and waterways is essential. The outdoor industry could not be more pleased this vital, bipartisan piece of legislation was signed into law,” said Aangeenbrug.
Kane cited the “many bipartisan champions in Congress over the years” who worked to deliver on the 50-year-old promise of LWCF,” including the lead sponsors of the legislation, past and present: Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Richard Burr (R-NC), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Congressmen Joe Cunningham (D-SC) and Mike Simpson (R-ID), Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA). Kane also gave a shout out to “the tireless work of nonprofits, businesses, local elected officials, recreationists and other stakeholders” who fueled the bipartisan, grassroots campaign for decades that led to this ultimate success.
“With President Trump’s signature, the original vision of LWCF will at last be realized, and countless missing puzzle pieces within our national parks, forests and wildlife refuges will be secured and not lost through private sale,” said Kane. “Local communities will now have more resources to meet their recreation needs and the confidence to make long-term investments to protect their water supplies, adapt to a changing climate, and strike a needed balance between development and protection. Historical sites will be preserved to educate future generations. And sportsmen and women will no longer be frustrated by obstacles to public hunting and fishing access.”