US Governors and travel community hail passage of Great American Outdoors Act
US Governors applaud the passage of S. 3422, the Great American Outdoors Act. This bipartisan legislation will help states to meet their outdoor recreation needs by providing stability and certainty in funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and it does much to address the substantial backlog of deferred maintenance in national parks.
As Congress considers ways to further economic recovery and protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, support for outdoor recreation and public lands is crucial. The outdoor recreation economy employs millions of Americans in communities across the nation, and public outdoor spaces provide a safe venue for Americans to exercise and recreate.
Governors urge the House to take up this critical legislation as soon as possible.
For the past year, the National Governors Association has organized the Outdoor Recreation Learning Network to help governors and their staffs leverage their unique natural, cultural and historical resources to advance economic, workforce, health and environmental benefits.
U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement on Senate passage of the Great American Outdoors Act (H.R. 1957):
“Our national parks are more critical centers of travel and tourism than ever, and the Senate has done a very wise thing to prioritize this legislation to support their upkeep. In addition to the greatly positive impact on the infrastructure and maintenance needs at national parks, and this bill will also help protect the use of public lands for the travel- and tourism-dependent recreation industry.
“Data is showing conclusively that Americans are much more comfortable traveling by car and recreating outdoors as we continue to cope with the pandemic, which will make national parks very important leisure travel destinations for the foreseeable future.
“Given their vital role as drivers for the regional economies around them, national parks are cornerstones not only of America’s cultural and geographical heritage, but also of American prosperity. In 2019 alone, national parks welcomed 327 million visitors who contributed $41.7 billion to the economy and supported 340,500 jobs.
“We thank Sen. Gardner, Sen. Daines and Sen. Manchin for their leadership on this bill, and we look forward to continuing to work with Congress on measures to secure the future of our national parks for all Americans.”