Great American Outdoors Act: Reviving Funding for the Care Federal Lands Require

July 23, 2020
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference


Great American Outdoors Act: Reviving Funding for the Care Federal Lands Require
Crater Lake in Spring - Photo credit: Jeremy Apgar


Over 100 years after the National Parks Service was founded, federal public lands will receive reviving funding focused on the care these outdoor spaces require.

On Wednesday, July 22, the House passed the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) with a vote of 310-107 in favor. Now passed by Congress, the act is headed to the White House to be signed into law.

This landmark legislation will fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million a year. The LWCF was created by Congress in the 1960s and has been consistently underfunded. 

The bill will also create a Restoration Fund to address the extensive maintenance backlog on federal public lands, including national parks and national forests. Federal agencies such as the National Park Service, the Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Bureau of Indian Education will receive funds for deferred maintenance projects.  The Restoration Fund will provide $9.5 billion of funding over five years and will be funded from energy development revenues on federal land and water. The current backlog of federal public lands maintenance projects totals nearly $22 billion. This legislation is an important to investment towards meeting the high demand for safe and accessible outdoor spaces.

The Trail Conference is proud to be one of over 850 organizations in support of the GAOA. We applaud every outdoor advocate and fellow organization who worked tirelessly to make the Great American Outdoors Act a reality. This act is a historic win ensuring that federal public lands and trails are sustainable and accessible for all to enjoy for generations to come.