With any luck, Americans could have a BIG win for our public lands and the national agencies that manage them. The Great American Outdoors (GAO) Act will be making its way through the Senate this week. If passed, the GAO Act would permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) with $900 million annually and create the National Park and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund.
For those of you who don’t know, the LWCF effects every state in USA. From acquiring new public lands to building municipal baseball parks, this program has had profound impacts on everyone who gets outside. Whether you are the person that likes to like hunt mountain goats on razor peaks in the backcountry or the person that enjoys taking a stroll through a municipal park, LWCF affects you! The funding for the LWCF comes from royalties collected on offshore oil and gas revenue and not from the tax payer’s pocket.
If you need another reason to get behind the GAO Act look no further than the National Park and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund. If created, this fund will bring much needed resources to help reduce the backlog of maintenance issues that have accrued in our National Parks and other public lands for years. Think public toilets and campground maintenance. For quite some time, the National Park Service has built up a long list of infrastructure issues due to increased attendance in national parks and insufficient funding to keep up with that public demand. If this bill passes, 1.9 billion dollars annually for up to five years will be directed to our national parks to address maintenance back logs and will insure that future generations will be able to enjoy our national parks. The funding for this program will also come from receiving royalties from energy development (both renewable and nonrenewable) and not the hard earned money that we as tax payers put into the the national coffers annually.
Please take the time to call your elected officials and let them know that the Great American Outdoors Act is important to you!
Montana: Greg Gianforte (202) 225-3211, Steve Daines (406) 443-3189, Jon Tester (202) 224-2644.