To the editor: On June 17, the U.S. Senate passed the Great American Outdoors Act with a 73-25 vote. This bipartisan legislation fully dedicates funds to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, our nation’s most successful conservation program, and funds repairs and maintenance projects for our public land management agencies.
During a time when our nation faces unprecedented challenges and economic uncertainty, the Great American Outdoors Act would make targeted investments on our lands and waters, funding a wealth of shovel-ready conservation and access projects across the country. It would provide the fund $900 million in perpetuity, empowering a program that has funded projects in every U.S. county and providing vital tools for state and local agencies seeking to improve public access. It also would provide public land agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service, National Wildlife Refuge System and Bureau of Land Management, $9.5 billion over the next five years to repair damaged roads, trails, bridges and water structures.
This legislation did not spring from thin air; it took decades of hard work and relentless advocacy by outdoorsmen and women committed to preserving our wild public lands, waters and wildlife, as well as willing collaboration by members of both parties.
On behalf of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, I thank Sens. Murkowski and Sullivan for supporting this landmark bill. Now is the time for Rep. Young to follow their leadership and send this clean bill swiftly to the president’s desk. Hunters and anglers are counting on it.