President Trump signs access and conservation bill

President Donald Trump has signed the bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act, according to U.S. National Marine Manufactures Association.

This is said to be the single largest investment in America’s public lands and waters in decades. The official signing of the bill caps off years of advocacy from NMMA, the recreational boating community, and the outdoor recreation industry.

The Great American Outdoors Act addresses two long-standing priorities of the outdoor recreation community. First, it fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund – a go-to program for conserving and maximising outdoor recreation access. Second, the bill tackles the maintenance backlog on public lands and waters by investing in boating infrastructure like docks, ramps and parking facilities.

“This is a historic victory over 50 years in the making for communities across the country that benefit from the economic, cultural and recreational value of America’s public lands and close-to-home recreation,” says Tom Cors, director of government relations for lands at The Nature Conservancy and a spokesperson for the LWCF Coalition.

“Despite years of uneven funding, LWCF has conserved iconic landscapes in every state; protected our national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, wilderness, monuments and battlefields; and supported community investments in parks and outdoor recreation opportunities. Now, LWCF will be a promise fully kept, as a permanent commitment to conservation, recreation and community needs that for too long have fallen through the cracks. And, it will do all this while driving job creation and economic recovery efforts our country needs right now.

“Funds set aside for conservation and recreation access projects across the country will no longer be redirected for other purposes. With this legislation, the original vision of LWCF will at last be realised, and countless missing puzzle pieces within our national parks, forests and wildlife refuges will be secured and not lost through private sale. Local communities will now have more resources to meet their recreation needs and the confidence to make long-term investments to protect their water supplies, adapt to a changing climate and strike a needed balance between development and protection.

“The LWCF Coalition is incredibly grateful for the work of nonprofits, businesses, local elected officials, recreationists and other stakeholders who have driven a bipartisan, grassroots campaign for decades to this ultimate success. This marks a new era for conservation and recreation in this country.”

According to Trump, the bill renews national parks and protects local lands, while also serving as a jobs and infrastructure package that will create over 100,000 additional infrastructure-related jobs. The legislation will provide $900 million a year in permanent funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and will allocate $9.5 billion over five years to restore facilities and infrastructure in national parks and public lands.

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