WASHINGTON, July 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Will Shafroth, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation, the official nonprofit partner to the National Park Service, made the following statement regarding passage of the Great American Outdoors Act in the House of Representatives:
"After years of bipartisan collaboration and debate, today we reached a once-in-a-generation achievement in the conservation community – passage of the Great American Outdoors Act.
As a leading proponent for tackling national park deferred maintenance, the National Park Foundation is thrilled that the House of Representatives voted 310-107 to pass the Great American Outdoors Act. On the heels of last month's resounding bipartisan vote in the United States Senate, we look forward to the President signing into law this incredible win for America's national parks and public lands.
The Great American Outdoors Act affirms our shared commitment to caring for America's special places by providing significant resources to address national park deferred maintenance. Tackling our parks' long overdue maintenance needs will ensure these places are safe and accessible for all, continue fueling local economies, and offer education and inspiration for generations to come.
By directing much-needed funding to repair and improve national park facilities, roads, water systems, trails, and other vital assets, this soon-to-be law will allow the National Park Service and its partners to preserve America's special places while offering a world class visitor experience.
The Great American Outdoors Act's substantial investments in our iconic landscapes, hallowed battlefields, and important historical and cultural sites will enhance the Foundation's work to enrich national parks with philanthropic support. With meaningful federal resources devoted to long overdue park maintenance needs, philanthropic partners can focus on funding innovative projects that enhance the visitor experience and ensure our parks reach their highest potential.
In addition to addressing national park infrastructure, the Great American Outdoors Act enshrines our nation's conservation legacy through permanent, mandatory funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This hallmark program will conserve precious lands in national parks as well as boost access to close-to-home recreation opportunities in communities throughout the United States.
The Foundation commends Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12), Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD-5), and Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23) for their shared commitment to moving this significant legislation forward.
The Foundation applauds the dozen bipartisan lawmakers who introduced the Great American Outdoors Act in the House: Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC-1), Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1), Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID-2), Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ-11), Rep. John Katko (R-NY-24), Rep. T.J. Cox (D-CA-21), Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY-1), Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM-2), Rep. Kendra Horn (D-OK-5), Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH-15), Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME-2), and Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE-1). We are grateful for the more than 200 members who supported the Great American Outdoors Act as cosponsors.
Passage of the Great American Outdoors Act is a historic triumph for our national parks and all who cherish them. The National Park Foundation looks forward to working with Congress and the Administration on implementing this landmark conservation victory."