U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement on House passage of the Great American Outdoors Act (H.R. 1957), which is expected to be signed by the president:
“National parks have become increasingly important centers of travel and tourism, since there is clear evidence that the American public is more comfortable recreating in open spaces and taking their trips by car during the coronavirus pandemic.
“This prudent and bipartisan piece of legislation should be looked upon as a welcome bright note during an otherwise challenging time in Washington and around the country and world. Congress is to be congratulated for this measure directing much-needed resources to the upkeep of national parks, and we are encouraged that the administration has indicated its support as well.
“Last year, national parks welcomed 327 million visitors who spent $41.7 billion and supported 340,500 U.S. jobs. Given the rising popularity of national parks during COVID-19, we fully expect those positive economic impact figures to go up, which makes this investment by Congress in our parks particularly smart and timely. National parks are not only vital elements of the country’s geographic and cultural heritage—they are critical economic drivers, too.
“We thank Reps. Joe Cunningham (D-SC), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) and Mike Simpson (R-ID) for their work to shepherd the Great American Outdoors Act through to House passage, and also the chamber’s leadership for advancing the bill amid a very demanding legislative schedule. And we again thank Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Steve Daines (R-MT) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) for their great leadership in achieving the upper chamber’s earlier passage of the bill.”