We do not inherit the
earth from our ancestors,
we borrow it from
our children.
- Native American Wisdom

The Great American Outdoors Act

The Great American Outdoors Act (S. 3422) will fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and establish the National Park and Public Lands Legacy Fund.

On June 17th the bill was passed in the Senate with a vote of 73-25.

On July 22nd the bill was passed in the House with a vote of 310-107.

On August 4th the bill was signed into law by the President.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund was established by Congress in 1965 and is the nation's most important tool for conservation and public recreation access. Full funding for this program will protect parks and public lands from the threat of development inside their borders; connect landscapes for wildlife and fire management; preserve water quantity and quality; sustain working landscapes and rural economies and; increase access for recreation for all Americans regardless of where they live. This legislation would insure that all non–taxpayer funds that are deposited into the Land and Water Conservation Fund – including $900 million in annual offshore energy receipts that routinely have been diverted from the fund for decades – to be spent only and fully on their intended purpose.

*The Land and Water Conservation fund has been used to acquire and protect additional land at Saguaro National Park many times. Most recently, the fund was used to acquire property along Rincon Creek in the Rincon Mountain District (East) and property that connects the Sweetwater Preserve to the Tucson Mountain District (West).

The National Park and Public Lands Legacy Fund will address the $20 billion deferred maintenance backlog at national parks and other public lands. This legislation would direct up to $9.5 billion over five years in non–tax payer funds from mineral receipts to address the maintenance backlog.

*The Public Lands Legacy Fund could be used to address the current $23 million maintenance backlog at Saguaro National Park. This backlog consists mostly of deferred trail and road maintenance.

The Great American Outdoors Act will also be an investment in the recovery of the national park and public lands tourism industry. These lands are major economic engines for gateway communities. The nationwide outdoor recreation economy supports more than 7.6 million jobs and contributes over $887 billion in annual economic output.

*Saguaro National Park set a record for visitation in 2019, with over 1 million visitors. Those visitors spent $65 million in southern Arizona. That spending supported 900 local jobs, $35 million in labor income and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $100 million.