Take action for the Great American Outdoors Act
Conservation Northwest / Jul 21, 2020 / Action Alert, Legislation, National Forests
WILD NW Action Alert #305: With a vote possible tomorrow, July 22, we need your help with a last minute push to ensure that all of Washington’s Members of Congress support this monumental bill.
As soon as tomorrow, Wednesday, July 22, the U.S. House is expected to vote on what could be the biggest win in a generation for public lands, national parks and other conservation priorities: the Great American Outdoors Act.
We need your help with a last minute push to ensure that ALL of Washington’s Members of Congress support this monumental bill, which passed the Senate on June 17 with a bipartisan 73-25 vote.
Our records indicate you live in eastern or southwestern Washington, in a Congressional District represented by Rep. Dan Newhouse (4th District), Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (5th District) or Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (3rd District).
Despite the Great American Outdoors Act’s bipartisan sponsorship and Senate support, and the incredible importance of our public lands, parks, national forests, recreation areas, Native American nations and other outdoor areas that would directly benefit from this bill, your Representative has not committed to voting Yes on the Great American Outdoors Act.
They need to hear from you before the vote, which could happen as early as tomorrow. Please take action ASAP!
The Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) (H.R. 1957, S. 3422) would permanently fully-fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, America’s most effective funding program for conservation and outdoor access, while also funding the maintenance backlog in our national parks and supporting the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Indian Affairs with funding to conduct important restoration, habitat and recreation projects.
At a time when our country, economy and natural heritage all need a win, the GAOA will create jobs in communities across America in public lands restoration, tourism, and outdoor recreation and retail. It will make nature more accessible to more families by broadening and ensuring recreation access for hiking, wildlife watching, camping, hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities – whether they are in spectacular national parks like Mount Rainier, national forests like the Okanogan-Wenatchee and Colville, or neighborhood playfields and boat ramps from Spokane to Yakima and Ilwaco.
As our Executive Director Mitch Friedman wrote in a blog earlier this month, this bill presents a historic conservation opportunity. Read more about why it’s so important (and bipartisan!) in this Tri-City Herald op-ed, or this coverage from Outside Magazine and the Washington Post.
Then please take action to show your support. Consider customizing our letter with thoughts on why public lands and outdoor access are important for you and your family.
Suggested letter to Members of Congress on the Great American Outdoors Act
RE: Please vote YES on Great American Outdoors Act (HR 7092)
Dear U.S. Representative,
As your constituent, I am reaching out to ask you to vote YES on the Great American Outdoors Act (H.R. 7092). Passed by the Senate in June as S. 3422, the Great American Outdoors Act is a historic piece of legislation which includes full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and critical deferred maintenance on our national parks and other public lands. I hope we can count on you to vote for H.R. 7092 as a clean bill with no amendments.
Every year, public lands provide critical mental and physical health benefits to hundreds of millions of people, while also supporting rural economies and jobs. It is no surprise that many public lands have seen huge increases in attendances after re-opening under COVID-19. H.R. 7092 would also benefit our national parks, forests, state and local parks, wildlife refuges and public lands to generate additional jobs and help get our nation on the road to economic recovery.
The places available for these important activities have often been acquired through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), but we could have many more places available for outdoor recreation, from hiking, camping and climbing to hunting, fishing and wildlife watching, as well as to find solace, and stay healthy in these exceptional times. These activities directly support local economies, including many small businesses affected by the pandemic.
The Great American Outdoors Act alone will support over 100,000 direct and indirect jobs, and the conservation funding associated with LWCF provides some of the highest return on investment on federal dollars of any industry.
The Senate passed this bill with a large majority of members supporting it. We hope the House will do the same and ensure that future generations can experience the great outdoors and continue America’s rich legacy of fish, wildlife, and public lands.
Our public lands, parks and natural heritage need the Great American Outdoors Act. Please vote YES for Washingtonians and all Americans.