What is the Great American Outdoors Act?

If you have been on the internet at all today, you’ll have likely seen that the Great American Outdoors Act was passed! Woo!

So, I’m just going to say it, because I know that we are all thinking it… what is the Great American Outdoors Act?

The official purpose of the Great American Outdoors Act is “to establish, fund, and provide for the use of amounts in a National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund to address the maintenance backlog of the National Park Service, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service, and the Bureau of Indian Education, and to provide permanent, dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and for other purposes.

So, what does that actually mean?

It creates the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund, which will fund backlogged projects in various federal park services, and it provides permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund:

  • For the next five years (2021 – 2025), fifty percent of all energy development revenue that the United States gets from oil, gas, coal, or alternative or renewable energy development on Federal land will be put into the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund. The maximum amount that can be put into the fund is $1,900,000,000 each year.
    • 70% of the Fund will be allocated to the National Park Service
    • 15% of the Fund will be allocated to the Forest Service
    • 5% of the Fund will be allocated to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service
    • 5% of the Fund will be allocated to the Bureau of Land Management
    • 5% of the Fund will be allocated to the Bureau of Indian Education
  • For the first year, the Secretary of Agriculture will submit a list of priority projects to be funded in 2021. After that, the President will submit a list of projects to Congress that will be funded from the Fund.
  • Aside from the revenue made from the energy development projects, the Fund can also be funded from public donations.

Land and Water Conservation Fund:

  • Provides permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which gives grants to State and local governments to improve and develop parks in their own communities.

Overall, the Great American Outdoors Act is a huge win for our parks, conservation, and for us – those who enjoy getting out into the great American outdoors!

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