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Tell Congress: Support the Great American Outdoors Act

UPDATE July 22, 2020: The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Great American Outdoors Act by a vote of 310-107 in favor. It now goes to President Trump for signing. Read our press release about this historic vote by clicking below.

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Contact your Member of Congress today and ask them to support this vital conservation bill!

Last month, the U.S. Senate passed the most important conservation bill in decades — the Great American Outdoors Act (H.R. 1957) — bringing it one step closer to becoming law. The incredible support for this legislation is due in part to dedicated Appalachian Trail (A.T.) advocates like you who called their Senators and let them know how important this Act is for our public lands. Our sincere thanks go to everyone who contacted their Senators!

Now we ask you to help us ensure this bill makes it to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

This Wednesday, July 22, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on this important Act. To make sure that U.S. Representatives are present and vote YES, please call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202.224.3121 and ask to speak with your U.S. Representative.

If passed, the Great American Outdoors Act would authorize full, permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), directing $900 million annually into land conservation projects and protection of some of the country’s most important ecosystems and landscapes. The LWCF is the primary funding stream for protecting land at both the federal and state level. While LWCF was permanently authorized in 2019, it was never fully funded by Congress. The Great American Outdoors Act would remedy this problem.

The Act would also create a Restoration Fund which will address failing infrastructure on our public lands. Should the Great American Outdoors Act become law, this Fund would provide:

  • $9.5 billion over five years to help address deferred maintenance needs on our public lands, including roads, buildings, trails, and other key components for visitor enjoyment and safety.
  • Direct assistance for deferred maintenance on the A.T., which needs at least $24 million to adequately complete these projects.

Importantly, National Forests — where 40% of the A.T. is located — are now eligible for Restoration Fund support thanks to fellow guardians of the A.T. reaching out to their Members of Congress.

The impact this Act would have on outdoor recreation, local tourism economies, and the protection of some of America’s most awe-inspiring landscapes cannot be understated. And, importantly, both LWCF and the Restoration Fund use oil and gas drilling user fees — not taxpayer dollars — to fund conservation projects at both the state and federal level.

Many Members of Congress have voiced support for the Restoration Fund and the full funding of LWCF. But votes are what make the difference.

We urge you to contact your Representative today and ask them to vote YES for the Great American Outdoors Act as passed by the U.S. Senate, and to oppose any amendments. This is a rare opportunity to ensure our public lands — which have given us so much — receive the funding and care they need.

Thank you for being a voice for the Trail!

Lead image courtesy of Brent McGuirt Photography.