Press Releases

Trahan Supports Passage of the Great American Outdoors Act

Legislation fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund and delivers billions in funding to repair national parks

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-03) voted to send H.R. 1957, the Great American Outdoors Act, to the President’s desk to be signed into law. The historic legislation, which Trahan cosponsored, fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund and provides billions in funding to fix buildings, trails, roads and other infrastructure of our national parks in need of repair.

“For too long, Washington has divested from conservation efforts and neglected the need for maintenance upgrades at national parks across the nation. That changes today,” Congresswoman Trahan said. “The Great American Outdoors Act will provide full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and finally reinvest in fixing facilities and infrastructure at our parks. I’m proud to support this bill, which will help address the $33 million in maintenance backlogs in my district alone at Lowell National Historical Park and Minute Man National Historical Park.”

Used each year to enhance and establish local, state, and national preservation areas, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, often referred to as LWCF, is America’s most successful conservation program. The fund uses non-taxpayer dollars to support everything from local playgrounds to national park expansions. Trahan voted last year to permanently authorize $900 million in annual funding for LWCF for the first time since its creation in 1965. Today’s vote will provide maximum funding that will give LWCF more opportunities to preserve green spaces and give community planners more resources to improve outdoor access, especially for underserved children and families in low income and park-poor communities.

The Great American Outdoors Act also establishes the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund, which will provide funding to the National Park Service and other federal land management agencies to close the $22 billion deferred maintenance backlog on public lands. In Massachusetts alone, funding from H.R. 1957 be used to assist national parks in need $244.5 million in deferred maintenance projects. This includes $20.6 million in deferred maintenance at Lowell National Historical Park and another $12.4 million at Minute Man National Historical Park.

Economically, the Great American Outdoors Act will have strong benefits for workers and small business across the country:

  • The outdoor recreation industry, which includes the hiking, boating, camping, outfitter, motorcyclist, and sportsmen sectors, generates 5.2 million American jobs and contributes more than $770 billion to the economy each year.
  • Park tourism supports more than 340,000 jobs and produces more than $40 billion in economic output annually, including $21 billion spent directly on lodging, restaurants, gas, and other expenses. The National Park Service estimates that this legislation will support the creation of an additional 100,000 jobs.
  • A report from Boston University estimates that for every $1 million invested in the LWCF, another 17 to 31 jobs are created.

Supported by more than 900 organizations nationwide, including Environment Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition, and the Massachusetts Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, the Great American Outdoors Act passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support. The legislation now moves to the President’s desk to be signed into law.