Ask Your Senators: Support the Great American Outdoors Act
Update – March 9, 2020:
Earlier today, the U.S. Senate introduced the Great American Outdoors Act (S. 3422), which includes permanent, full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and billions in funding for all federal land management agencies! The Act would be a major victory for all of the public lands in the United States, so we encourage everyone to continue contacting their Senators to ensure this legislation passes when it comes to the Senate floor.
Now is the time to take action for the Appalachian Trail and our public lands.
On March 4, Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Mark Warner of Virginia, Steve Daines of Montana and Cory Gardner of Colorado announced they would soon introduce a landmark conservation bill to provide full, permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and greatly increase funding for deferred maintenance projects on our public lands (known as the Restore Our Parks Act, or ROPA).
LWCF and ROPA use oil and gas receipts — not taxpayer dollars — to fund conservation projects at both the state and federal level. LWCF helps conservation organizations like the ATC protect important lands that preserve vital landscapes and wildlife habitats. ROPA funding would help address the $12 billion in deferred maintenance projects at the National Park Service, including on the A.T. LWCF and ROPA are two of the ATC’s highest legislative priorities, and we are extremely excited to see them gain momentum in the Senate.
However, the ATC would like to see the U.S. Forest Service and other federal land management agencies included in this important upcoming legislation, as this would ensure all of the Trail’s deferred maintenance needs are properly funded.
The absence of the U.S. Forest Service in this bill is troubling, as roughly 25% of the country’s deferred maintenance backlog — around $5 billion in aging roads, failing bridges, eroding footpaths and other important infrastructure projects — exist on Forest Service lands. Right now, the only way the U.S. Forest Service and other federal land management agencies (such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) would receive funding through this bill is if it was directly tied to a National Park Unit like the A.T.
In order to make sure all of the Trail’s lands are properly funded and cared for, we are asking the Senate to include the U.S. Forest Service and other federal land management agencies in this important upcoming legislation.
Here’s how you can help: please reach out to your Senators today using the form below.
By using this form, you will send an email to your Senators asking them to:
- Become a co-sponsor of this important conservation bill.
- Request that Senators Manchin, Warner, Gardner and Daines include the U.S. Forest Service and all public land management agencies as part of this funding.
Thank you for being a voice for the Trail!
Lead image courtesy of Brent McGuirt Photography.