Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced yesterday that the Senate will take up the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) when it resumes work in June. This landmark legislation would fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, as well as address the $20 billion maintenance backlog on America's public lands and waters. ORR led the effort to include funding for agencies like the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management in the bill. Earlier this month, ORR sent a letter to Congressional leadership, signed by all 31 national recreation associations, urging swift passage of GAOA. ORR members were integral to the movement of this legislation and will continue to lead as we encourage all members to swiftly pass this legislation that will create resilient communities and economies.

"During this difficult time for the outdoor industry, one bright spot has been Americans’ increased appreciation for time spent outside. A major congressional proposal that could help our nation’s economy, jobs and rural communities come back from this pandemic, and Americans safely experience all the outdoors has to offer, is the Great American Outdoors Act," said Executive Director of Outdoor Recreation Roundtable Jessica (Wahl) Turner. "We appreciate all of the Senate sponsors’ efforts, and ORR member’s support, to secure this vital vote on GAOA in early June. We urge all congressional members who care about small businesses, resilient communities and healthy people to vote for this legislation." 

ORR is extremely grateful for the bipartisan effort to secure a vote for GAOA. This historic vote would not have been possible without support from Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Steve Daines (R-MT), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Angus King (I-ME), Rob Portman (R-OH), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Mark Warner (D-VA), and more.

“As Americans across the country emerge from stay at home orders, there is an intense desire to get back to our cherished national lands. The Great American Outdoors Act offers innovative solutions and sustainable funding that will address the deferred maintenance backlog and ensure the safety and enjoyment for Americans today and decades to come,” said RV Industry Association Vice President of Government Affairs Jay Landers. “Campgrounds on federal lands are currently showing distressing signs of wear: crumbling roads and bridges; deferred maintenance needs; and limited camping availability, jeopardizing not only the RV industry but the entire outdoor recreation industry. We are grateful to the leadership of Senators Gardner, Daines, Manchin, Heinrich and more to address the needs of our public lands and support outdoor recreation.”

Check out the full article from the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable here.