SCI Celebrates Congressional Commitment to Historic Hunting and Conservation Legislation

The United States House of Representatives has passed the Great American Outdoors Act, 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 the U.S. House 310 – 107.  The Senate version of the bill was passed on June 22.  The bill will now head to President Donald Trump’s desk to be signed into law.

“Today’s House passage of the Great American Outdoors Act is a landmark moment in the rich and unparalleled history of American conservation.   Thank you, Congressmen Mike Simpson and Joe Cunningham, for your leadership in shepherding this bill to President Trump’s desk for his signature.  The unprecedented groundswell of support from SCI members nationwide has made a real impact and their voices will echo across our public lands long after this Act becomes law for the benefit and enjoyment of the American people,” said SCI CEO W. Laird Hamberlin.

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 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.  Ensuring full and permanent funding for future land acquisition efforts will continue to make immediate impacts on wildlife conservation efforts and increase access for hunting and fishing across the country.

“I am thrilled to see this legislation on its way to President Trump’s desk where he will sign the bill into law,” said Representative Simpson. “Not only does this bill support hundreds of thousands of jobs, but it protects and maintains our public lands for generations that aren’t even born yet. I grew up on the doorstep of Yellowstone, and so many communities in Idaho benefit from the outdoor access and the economic impacts of our public lands. The Great American Outdoors Act ensures that projects are vetted by Congress annually, funds the programs without using taxpayer funds, and continues important state- based projects like greenbelts, parks, and community pools. Bottom line, this bill is great for Idaho and public lands across this country. I am grateful for the support of Safari Club International for helping us get this important legislation passed.” 

“It is an honor to lead the effort in the House to pass the Great American Outdoors Act”, said Representative Cunningham. “Today, the House passed bipartisan legislation that will deliver jobs to communities across the country, protect recreational access, preserve historic sites, and restore aging national park and public land infrastructure. For folks in the Lowcountry, this bill will protect some of our most beloved and treasured places, from the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, Hunting Island State Park, and the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, to the Pitt Street Park and Folly Beach Boardwalk. I look forward to President Trump swiftly signing this legislation into law so that we can protect access to the great outdoors for generations of Americans to come.”

Since the day it was introduced, Safari Club International (SCI) has worked tirelessly to advance this legislation. The Great American Outdoors Act was one of the primary focuses of SCI’s recent Virtual Advocacy Week and 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

Over the last few months, thousands of SCI members joined a grassroots campaign through the Hunter Advocacy Action Center to urge their respective members of Congress to support the bill, making it the most extensive grassroots advocacy campaign in the organization’s history. We made our voices heard in the halls of Congress like never before. With history made, the future looks bright for America’s hunting and fishing community.

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