June 8, 2020

U.S. Senate Votes to Debate Historic, Bipartisan Conservation Act

Media Statement by Larry Selzer, President and CEO, The Conservation Fund 

“The Conservation Fund applauds today’s progress towards enacting historic conservation legislation, as the Senate voted overwhelmingly to begin floor debate of permanent and full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The legislation, called the Great American Outdoors Act (S. 3422), would also provide five years of funding to reduce the maintenance backlog on our federal public lands.

“As Americans seek economic relief, recovery and a path forward that addresses the many challenges we face, we have tremendous opportunity in the protection and enhancement of access to our public lands. Over the past few months, these natural places have been essential to the physical and mental wellbeing of many. We are reminded more than ever of the healing and unifying power of our public lands. A vote to enact the Great American Outdoors Act would not only be one of the most significant conservation achievements in 50 years, it would also be a substantial investment in both our outdoors and the vitality of local economies that rely on recreation to their nearby public lands.

“Ensuring full and permanent funding for the LWCF would accelerate efforts to protect and enhance not only our natural treasures, like Yellowstone National Park, but also the local park down the street and working forests that supply essential materials.  

"The Conservation Fund has helped federal, state and local partners advance numerous LWCF projects. Most recently, The Conservation Fund’s efforts have supported:

  • the National Park Service’s protection of a key property within Grand Teton National Park that preserves the iconic landscape of the Teton Range, prevents residential development and protects important habitat for a variety of wildlife;
  • the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s establishment of a core, protected area for the Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Pennsylvania in order to preserve important wildlife habitat, increase recreational access, and secure more than five miles of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail; and 
  • the protection of a culturally significant Native American site along the Rappahannock River in Virginia expanding opportunities for hiking, bird-watching, and other wildlife-dependent recreation.

“The Conservation Fund joins a broad coalition of veterans, children, sportsmen and women, businesses, outdoor enthusiasts, mayors, forest companies, family health organizations and a vast majority of Americans in supporting the full funding of the bipartisan LWCF as it was intended. It is an investment that can and must continue to benefit America’s communities, the environment and the economy for generations to come. We call on the Senate to pass this legislation—without amendment—and for the House of Representatives to quickly pass and the President to sign.”

About The Conservation Fund

At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect more than eight million acres of land. 

Ann Simonelli | The Conservation Fund | 703-908-5809 | asimonelli@conservationfund.org