Washington, DC – (June 16, 2020) – The United States Senate has passed the Great American Outdoors Act (S. 3422), one of the most meaningful pieces of legislation in American history when it comes to protecting the nation’s wild places and wild things and providing the public with opportunities to explore and recreate in the great outdoors.
The bill passed 73 to 25. The House version of the Great American Outdoors Act was introduced on June 4th. Pending passage in the House, the bill will head to President Donald Trump’s desk to be signed into law.
The Act will provide $9.5 billion over five years to address the crumbling infrastructure on America’s public lands and waters, with $6.5 billion in funding going to the National Park Service and an additional $3 billion in funding to repair and maintain infrastructure on public lands overseen by the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and U.S. Forest Service. These funds will be used to repair roads, build trails, and otherwise improve access for hunting and fishing on public lands and waters across the country.
The Act will also provide full and permanent funding, $900 million annually, for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The LWCF was established by Congress in 1964 to support conservation efforts across the country by purchasing land, implementing easements, and leveraging funding through various federal, local, and state partners. The LWCF has funded almost 50,000 projects to date, spanning nearly every county in America, from vast National Forests to small, local parks. Legislatively ensuring full and permanent funding for future land acquisition efforts will continue to make immediate, positive impacts on wildlife conservation efforts and increase access for hunting and fishing across the country.
“Safari Club International applauds the U.S. Senate for putting partisan politics aside to pass the Great American Outdoors Act for the benefit of the public. This is the biggest investment in our national treasures in a lifetime,” said SCI CEO W. Laird Hamberlin. “This tremendous achievement would not have been possible without the leadership of Senator Cory Gardner and Senator Steve Daines. SCI and our members will continue to engage until the Great American Outdoors Act is signed in to law.”
Since the day it was introduced, Safari Club International (SCI) has been working to advance this legislation. The Great American Outdoors Act was one of the primary focuses of SCI’s recent Virtual Advocacy Week, with thousands of SCI members participating in a grassroots campaign to urge their Senators to support the bill. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Steve Daines (R-MT), two of the bill’s primary sponsors, joined the program live to provide updates on the positive impact that the Act will have in their home states and across the country
“It has been one of my highest priorities to fight for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and for our national parks in the U.S. Senate. Now, with monumental bipartisan support, LWCF will have full, mandatory funding and we’ll address our maintenance backlog at our parks and public lands,” said Senator Steve Daines. “I’m proud to have secured Senate passage of this major conservation bill and I look forward to President Trump signing the Great American Outdoors Act into law.”
Advancing out of the Senate is a significant step in the right direction. However, the Great American Outdoors Act still needs to be passed by the House of Representatives. Make your voice heard and tell your Representative to vote YES on the Great American Outdoors Act by texting “Conservation” to 73075 or by visiting the Hunter Advocacy Action Center today!