Earlier this month, the Great American Outdoors Act was introduced by a bipartisan group in the United States Senate. The legislation is said to address the nearly $18 billion backlog of maintenance projects across public land agencies and provide “mandatory and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.”
In a release from the Land and Water Conservation Coalition:
The Land and Water Conservation Fund is America’s most important conservation program, responsible for protecting parks, wildlife refuges and recreation areas at the federal, state and local level. For 50 years, it has provided critical funding for land and water conservation projects, recreational construction and activities and the continued historic preservation of our nation’s iconic landmarks from coast to coast.
LWCF does not use any taxpayer dollars – it is funded using a small portion of revenues from offshore oil and gas royalty payments. Outdoor recreation, conservation and historic preservation activities contribute more than $887 billion annually to the U.S. economy, supporting 7.6 million jobs.
The National Park Service alone is reported to have a deferred maintenance backlog of more than $11 billion.