July 15, 2020 (WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The Great American Outdoors Act is the largest public lands funding package to receive an up-or-down vote in Congress in a lifetime, and the U.S. House of Representatives is set to take a final vote on the bill next Wednesday, July 22, setting the bill up to be sent to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
The House companion of the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) was introduced by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Member Representative Joe Cunningham (SC), and the Senate companion was led by CSC Member Senator Cory Gardner (CO), with both versions of the bill receiving strong bipartisan support by dozens of CSC members. GAOA passed the Senate last month on a strong bipartisan vote of 73-25.
Prior to bill introduction, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) led the effort to secure the inclusion of funding to restore the crumbling infrastructure on public lands and waters that are most important to hunters and anglers, namely Forest Service, Refuges and BLM lands. As a result of these efforts, GAOA will provide $9.5 billion over 5 years to address the deferred maintenance backlog on federal public lands and waters with roughly $3 billion set aside thanks to the efforts of CSF to restore the infrastructure on hundreds of millions of acres that collectively provide 25 million hunting days and 45 million fishing days for America’s sportsmen and women.
GAOA will also provide permanent and dedicated funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million annually, while also ensuring that $15 million of LWCF funding is set aside for the purpose of increasing access for hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and other forms of outdoor recreation on public lands and waters.
“After years of work, we are excited that the Great American Outdoors Act is now so close to becoming permanent law,” said Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) President Jeff Crane. “This legislation is one of the most significant conservation and public lands packages to receive this level of strong bipartisan support during this century, and we encourage the House to pass this bill for the benefit of our nation’s sportsmen and women.”
CSF is continuing to generate even more support for this legislation to ensure this bill passes the House on a strong bipartisan vote and is signed into law by the President. CSF encourages sportsmen and women to contact their representative in the House to urge a “yes” vote without any changes to the bill by calling 202-224-3121, or by clicking here.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?