(ALL INTERNAL RIGHTS & LIMITED EXTERNAL RIGHTS) August 2015. Young children climbing on the base of a sequoia tree in Sequoia National Park in California to celebrate the National Park Services' 100th Anniversary. Photo credit: © Nick Hall
Sequoia National Park (ALL INTERNAL RIGHTS & LIMITED EXTERNAL RIGHTS) August 2015. Young children climbing on the base of a sequoia tree in Sequoia National Park in California to celebrate the National Park Services' 100th Anniversary. Photo credit: © Nick Hall © Nick Hall

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House Approves Great American Outdoors Act

Bipartisan bill fully funds LWCF, boosts park repair funding.

The U.S. House of Representatives today voted 310-107 to approve the Great American Outdoors Act, which would fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and make critical investments in our national park system and other public lands. The bill now goes to the president for his promised signature.

“At a time when our country needs to create jobs and rebuild local economies while also protecting nature and places where everyone can recreate outdoors, the Great American Outdoors Act answers the call on all fronts,” said Jennifer Morris, CEO of The Nature Conservancy

At a time when our country needs to create jobs and rebuild local economies while also protecting nature and places where everyone can recreate outdoors, the Great American Outdoors Act answers the call on all fronts.

Jennifer Morris CEO of The Nature Conservancy

“This significant investment in nature and public lands and the resulting job creation is really an investment in our communities, our economy and our future. It is the most important U.S. conservation bill in a generation, creating a lasting path for the future of our public lands while supporting jobs and our well-being.

“Fully and permanently funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund and caring for America’s national parks and other public lands signals a lasting commitment to nature and a recognition of all the benefits nature provides. This act provides critical support for longstanding efforts to protect public lands, restore public places to be safer and more enjoyable, and increase access to nature for all communities. This commitment to conservation will pay economic, health and societal dividends for generations to come.

“This victory would not have happened without the dedication of many champions, and they have our deepest gratitude. We now urge the president to quickly sign the bill into law.”

This victory would not have happened without the dedication of many champions, and they have our deepest gratitude.

Jennifer Morris CEO of The Nature Conservancy

The bill combines two conservation proposals that each have strong, bipartisan support. The first would provide full and permanent funding of $900 million each year for LWCF, an amount derived from offshore oil and gas revenues – not tax dollars. A recent economic analysis shows that every $1 million invested in LWCF could support between 16 and 30 jobs. Additionally, research on the impact of the LWCF shows that $1 spent generates $4 in economic value from natural resource goods and services alone.

The second part of the bill would invest $1.9 billion annually for the next five years toward maintenance in national parks, other public lands and at the Bureau of Indian Education. Over $20 billion in direct visitor spending is disseminated each year to local communities adjacent to national park sites. A recent National Park Service study of maintenance investments in this legislation found that it will support an average of 40,300 direct jobs and a total of 100,100 direct and indirect jobs over the next five years.

The legislation – introduced in March by Sens. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and eight original cosponsors – passed just weeks after it cleared the Senate 73-25 and matches legislation introduced by a bipartisan group of 12 House lawmakers in June. The bill now heads to the president, who earlier this year voiced his support for the bill.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.