Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge
Blausey Tract after restoring Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge © TNC

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The Nature Conservancy Applauds Senate Passage of Great American Outdoors Act

Legislation would Fully Fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and Address Maintenance Backlog in National Parks.

Today the U.S. Senate passed the Great American Outdoors Act, which would fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and restore national parks by helping address the backlog of maintenance needs.

The following statement can be attributed in full, or in part, to Bill Stanley, Ohio State Director for The Nature Conservancy:

“The Great American Outdoors Act represents an enormous opportunity to protect America’s most important and beloved lands and waters.  We thank Senator Portman for his leadership related to our national parks, as well as Senator Brown, Congressmen Stivers and Ryan, and others for moving these initiatives forward.  

The Great American Outdoors Act combines two previous bills that each have strong bipartisan support from more than half of Congress. The first would provide full and permanent funding of $900 million each year for LWCF, which is funded by royalties from offshore oil and gas revenues—not taxpayer dollars. It has been used for more than 50 years to protect places in every state in the nation, including Ohio’s Wayne National Forest, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, East Fork State Park, the James Garfield National Historic Site, and roughly 1,500 other sites in Ohio.

The second part would invest $1.9 billion annually for the next five years in deferred maintenance for lands managed by the National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Education.  With more than 2.2 million visits per year, Cuyahoga Valley National Park is one of the country’s busiest national parks and an important natural asset for which to ensure funding.

The Great American Outdoors Act comes at a crucial time.  Investments in conservation are powerful drivers of economic growth that multiply local, state and national economies.  Local public park and recreation agencies generate $154 billion in economic activity and support 1.1 million jobs every year.  Additionally, national parks generate $18.2 billion in visitor spending and support 306,000 jobs.  Moreover, investing in fixing our national parks could generate nearly 110,000 in additional infrastructure-related jobs. 

Now is the time to pass the Great America Outdoors Act, the biggest win for conservation of America’s parks in a generation.  It is the result of strong bipartisan cooperation and has the support of President Trump.  We encourage the House to pass this legislation quickly.”

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.