Great American Outdoors Act Signed Into Law
August 4, 2020
HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. (Aug. 4, 2020) – America’s public lands received its greatest boost in decades this morning when President Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act into law. This historic Act will provide billions of dollars for public lands projects ranging from landscape preservation to infrastructure improvements.
“This is a great day for our national parks, forests and public lands, and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy sends its thanks for the overwhelming support the Great American Outdoors Act received from Congress, the President and outdoor enthusiasts around the nation,” said Sandra Marra, President & CEO of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC). “The Act will help ensure irreplaceable national treasures like the Appalachian Trail are protected and have the funding they need to enhance safety and accessibility for future generations to enjoy and benefit from.”
The Great American Outdoors Act provides full, permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and creates a Restoration Fund to address the deferred maintenance needs of federal public lands. Funding LWCF at its fully authorized level — $900 million a year — will double what was available in 2019 for states, municipalities and the federal government to conserve land for recreation and wildlife habitats. The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) as we know it would not exist without the support of the LWCF, which has helped protect such varied locations as Blood Mountain in Georgia, the Roan Highlands of Tennessee and North Carolina, the Cumberland Valley of Pennsylvania and community forests throughout New Hampshire and Vermont.
The Restoration Fund will make available $9.5 billion over five years, with $6 billion slated for National Park System units, about $1.4 billion slated for National Forest System units and $475 million for National Wildlife Refuges. The A.T. intersects six other park system units, eight national forests and three wildlife refuges. Across all its public lands, the United States has a deferred maintenance backlog of $20 billion, and the A.T. alone has at least $24 million in needed maintenance projects.
The support provided by the Great American Outdoors Act will greatly assist the ATC and the Trail’s renowned volunteer force in keeping the footpath and its surrounding landscapes conserved, maintained and ready to welcome and inspire a new generation of visitors. For more information on the Act and how it will help conserve A.T. lands, visit www.appalachiantrail.org.
About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. A unit of the National Park System, the A.T. ranges from Maine to Georgia and is 2,193 miles in length. It is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. The mission of the ATC is to protect, manage, and advocate for the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. For more information, please visit www.appalachiantrail.org.