Historic legislation to protect our public lands just passed the House and is headed to the President’s desk for signature.
The Great American Outdoors Act will invest nearly $2 billion per year to eliminate the maintenance backlog in our national parks and across our public lands. And importantly, it will fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) for the first time since it was enacted in the 1960s in order to support needed conservation efforts across the country.
Since 1964 LWCF has helped conserve thousands of acres of natural lands across the United States, and providing full, permanent funding for this program will allow us to better protect our remaining natural lands–from protecting spaces adjacent to National Parks or Wilderness areas to creating more parks and green space in our local communities.
Today, the U.S. loses about a football-field sized swath of nature every 30 seconds, and our parks and public lands lack the funds they need to fix crumbling roads, hiking trails, and public restrooms.
SEEC Members have been fighting for preservation efforts like these for years. Now, advocates are calling this bipartisan effort one of the most important environmental proposals in decades!
This bill could not come at a more critical time. Many Americans are turning to the outdoors – from national parks to local green spots – for recreation during this time of social distancing. And parks and public lands serve as economic engines for the local communities that rely on tourism and outdoor recreation.
This is also an issue of economic and racial justice: The Land and Water Conservation Fund provides resources to communities for playgrounds and green space. Communities of color and low-income communities are too often without nearby parks and places for safe and easy outdoor recreation. Additional investments in these communities are a long time coming.
Historical environmental policy is not possible without the dedication of SEEC Members in Congress fighting day in and day out for action big and small.
— SEEC PAC