DSC is proud, alongside our partners, to support the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), which passed in the Senate on June 17. The GAOA is a historic bill that supports hunters, anglers, hikers, campers, climbers, and all outdoor enthusiasts. Among other important actions, GAOA would improve access by funding the federal maintenance backup of necessary roads, trails, piers, campsites, parking lots, boat ramps, and other infrastructure. One economic analysis of the GAOA estimates that at least 110,000 infrastructure-related jobs would be created in National Parks alone.
Additionally, the GAOA provides critical funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which protects working forests and species habitat, improves the vitality of gateway communities, and supports state parks and community recreation facilities in support of outdoor activities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has left millions of Americans unable to enjoy the great outdoors. GAOA supports Americans’ return to the outdoors with the peace of mind that National Parks and federal lands will be safe and accessible.
GAOA will also provide permanent and dedicated funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million annually, while also ensuring that $15 million of LWCF funding is set aside for the purpose of increasing access for hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and other forms of outdoor recreation on public lands and waters.
The Great American Outdoors Act (S.3422) was introduced to the Senate in March by Sen. Gardner (R-CO) with 54 co-sponsors, including both democrats and republicans. On June 8, the Senate voted to limit debate, which allowed for the bill’s final passage to occur by a simple majority vote. As of press time, there were 59 total co-sponsors when the bill passed 73-25 on June 17.
Earlier in June, the companion legislation (H.R.7092) was introduced in the House by Rep. Cunningham (D-SC) with 11 other co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle. As of press time, there are 64 co-sponsors. The President has signaled his support of the bill, opening a path forward for it to be signed into law. The House will vote on the bill on July 22. Be sure to call your representatives and tell them to vote YES.