From Backcountry Hunters & Anglers:
WASHINGTON – Bipartisan legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate today, the Great American Outdoors Act, would ensure full, dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and address maintenance backlogs on public lands and waters managed by numerous land management agencies.
As the final legislative text was developed late last week, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers and others stressed the importance of funding maintenance issues in a range of public land management agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Forest Service. The bill introduced today encompasses all of these agencies. Initial negotiations included maintenance funding only for the National Park Service.
Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Mark Warner (D-VA), Steve Daines (R-MT), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Rob Portman (R-OH) and many others joined together in introducing the bill.
“We have been working closely with BHA’s 40,000-plus members and Senate leaders to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the most popular and successful access and conservation program in the United States, and provide maintenance funding to lands and waters managed by the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Forest Service – places critical to hunters and anglers’ access and the health of fish and wildlife populations,” said BHA President and CEO Land Tawney. “The legislation introduced today is a product of that work and a powerful reminder of the influence our voices have in our democratic process.”
The Senate bill includes full, dedicated funding of LWCF at $900 million annually. Maintenance backlog funding in the bill totals $1.9 billion annually until fiscal year 2025 and broken down as follows:
- 70 percent for the National Park Service;
- 15 percent for the U.S. Forest Service;
- 5 percent for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service;
- 5 percent for the Bureau of Land Management;
- 5 percent for the Bureau of Indian Education.
“Increased deferred maintenance funding for these important public land management agencies is widely supported by diverse stakeholders,” continued Tawney. “Together with dedicated LWCF funding, this support for our land managers will offer tangible benefits to our public lands, waters and wildlife – and the outdoor reliant economies, communities and individuals who depend on them.
“Sportsmen and women thank our Senate leaders for recognizing the crucial importance of these strategic investments,” Tawney stated. “We look forward to working with them to rapidly advance this bill to the president’s desk.”
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the voice
for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.