August 4, 2020

A National Legacy Of Conservation Assured: The Great American Outdoors Act Is Enacted

ARLINGTON, Va. – Today a historic demonstration of bipartisan governing has occurred, as the U.S. Congress and the President have enacted the Great American Outdoors Act (S. 3422 included in H.R. 1957) that includes full and dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and five years of funding to reduce the maintenance backlog on our federal public lands.

LWCF was established with a basic premise: if you deplete one federal natural resource you must replenish another. As originally designed by Congress in 1965, LWCF reinvests a small percentage of offshore energy revenues—not taxpayer dollars—in conservation and recreation access projects supporting critical natural resources, wild habitats, historic sites and working lands. LWCF has funded over 45,000 conservation projects in every state and county in the United States.

Media Statement by Larry Selzer, President and CEO, The Conservation Fund 
“The passage of the Great American Outdoors Act will be seen by future generations as a defining moment in American history.

“The Conservation Fund applauds the bipartisan leaders in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives who have championed this program over the years and have tirelessly worked to advance first reauthorization in 2019 and now full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Thanks to their efforts, the original vision for the LWCF established over 55 years ago will finally be realized.

“The economic, environmental, social, cultural and historical value the LWCF provides to states, communities, local businesses and anyone who visits our public lands is unmatched. Full and dedicated funding for LWCF is a pragmatic and crucial investment in America’s outdoors, as we look for both economic relief and a path forward that addresses the challenges and impacts of a changing climate. We have tremendous opportunity in the protection and improvement of access to our public lands to support local economies and jobs related to outdoor recreation, conservation and historic preservation.

“The enactment of the Great American Outdoors Act is a victory that we celebrate with everyone: outdoor enthusiasts, sportsmen and women, businesses, farmers, foresters, families, veterans and local communities that benefit economically from associated tourism and recreation on our public lands.

“The Conservation Fund stands ready to work collaboratively with public and private partners to implement this new LWCF funding to protect our treasured natural places and enhance outdoor recreational access. To date, The Conservation Fund has helped protect over eight million acres, and we will continue to play an important role in implementing LWCF by securing priority properties from willing sellers and bridging both timing and funding gaps to bring about successful conservation outcomes. LWCF is an important tool in our collective toolbelt, along with private support, to strengthen local economies and our natural infrastructure. Enactment of the Great American Outdoors Act is a pivotal, impactful moment for land conservation. Thank you!”

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 |