Senate Passes Great American Outdoors Act
On a strong bipartisan vote of 73-25, the U.S. Senate has passed the Great American Outdoors Act (S. 3422). This act represents a huge commitment to increase public access and advance the conservation in this lifetime.
Providing $9.5 billion over 5 years, this act will address the crumbling infrastructure on America’s public lands and waters. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation secured the inclusion of $3 billion, alongside the $6.5 billion funding the National Park Service, to repair and maintain public land infrastructure overseen by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and U.S. Forest Service (USFS), which provides critically important recreational opportunities for America’s sportsmen and women.
“The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation applauds Senate passage of the Great American Outdoors Act. Today’s vote demonstrates the bipartisan support for advancing conservation and increasing access for hunters and anglers. When signed into law, this bill will provide much needed support for public lands and waters and boost the already formidable outdoor economy. CSF extends our sincere thanks to the Senate Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) members that voted to support these priorities,” said CSF President Jeff Crane.
The inclusion of funding will ensure that Americans have the ability to access critically important hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting opportunities. Additionally, funding for maintenance backlog will create over 100,000 employment opportunities.
The Great American Outdoors Act also provides full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million annually. S. 3422 also secures $15 million annually to increase public access for hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and other forms of outdoor recreation.
“Years of bipartisan work have led to this moment and this historic opportunity for conservation,” said CSC Member Sen. Cory Gardner (CO). “Today the Senate passed not only the single greatest conservation achievement in generations, but also a lifeline to mountain towns and recreation communities hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. I call on the House of Representatives to pass this bill without delay in order to provide jobs to the American people, economic stimulus to communities in need, and protections for the great American outdoors for future generations of Americans to cherish.”
“I’m proud to have worked closely with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass this historic conservation bill. Full and permanent funding for the LWCF is critical so our land management agencies can continue their legacy of conservation and growing opportunities for outdoor recreation. Addressing the daunting deferred maintenance needs in our national parks is long overdue and will ensure all of our public land management agencies can operate fully to maintain and protect the public lands we all cherish. In the Mountain State, we have a rich history and at the center of it is our love and appreciation for the outdoor playground we have been blessed with. The Great American Outdoors Act will guarantee the wild and wonderful corners of West Virginia are protected for generations to come,” said CSC Vice-Chair Sen. Joe Manchin (WV). “I’ve seen firsthand the jobs that the outdoor recreation economy has brought to all areas of West Virginia. At a time of historic unemployment, there is simply no better time than now to pass this much needed legislation. This is a historic achievement for conservation and a testament to the strong, bipartisan work that is still possible when we put politics aside to do what is best for our country.”
The Great American Outdoors Act heads to the House for further consideration. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation strongly encourages sportsmen and women to contact their representatives in the House to urge quick passage of this long overdue legislation as-is without any changes by calling 202-224-3121 or by clicking here.
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