LANGHORNE, PA – On Wednesday, August 11, 2021, Congressman Fitzpatrick (PA-01) was joined by various local environmental partners at Nockamixon State Park to celebrate the 1-year anniversary of the signing into law of the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA). The passage of the GAOA guarantees full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) for our many public lands, including treasured national and state parks cross the nation. During the tour, all participants had the opportunity to reflect on what the GAOA means, not only for our parks, but for our community and our nation.
The Congressman was joined by various local advocacy groups who were essential in raising awareness of the importance of the (LWCF) and crucial in advocating for the GAOA. Those advocacy groups joining the Congressman included the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, PennFuture, PennEnvironment, Appalachian Mountain Club, Sierra Club, Trout Unlimited, Natural Lands, Appalachian Mountain Club, and Audubon.
“I am humbled to have been joined by so many advocacy groups that are passionate about preserving our public lands and enshrining them for generations to come,” said Fitzpatrick. “The GAOA was a bipartisan and bicameral movement where every member in Congress that joined in leading the charge truly understood the importance of fully funding the LWCF, which will inevitably contribute millions to our nation’s robust economy and ensure the protection of local treasures. The GAOA was a truly historic piece of legislation, but Congress could not have passed it without the overwhelming support of the many environmental advocacy groups involved.”
“The Great American Outdoors Act, and the full and permanent funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, is an historic achievement and an integral component of conservation projects that protect our clean air and drinking water, provide habitat for wildlife, and provide recreational opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts for generations to come,” said Sandra Meola, Director for the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed. “The Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed thanks Representative Brian Fitzpatrick and other members of Congress across both sides of the aisle for their leadership in the protection of our national parks, wildlife refuges, historical sites, and local green spaces.”
"PennFuture was honored to join Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed and other Pennsylvania environmental organizations to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act, which authorized permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund for the first time since the program's inception in 1965," said Ezra Thrush, PennFuture Senior Director of Government Affairs. "This law, which passed with strong bipartisan support, deserves to be celebrated as it continues to make unprecedented investments in our national parks, public lands and shared resources. We thank Rep. Fitzpatrick for his hard work to help secure passage of the act, which continues to be an enormous and inarguable victory for land conservation across the country."
"This year showed us, more than ever, the value of Pennsylvania's open spaces, from our iconic places like Valley Forge to local ballfields and basketball courts,” said Stephanie Wein, Clean Water & Conservation Advocate for PennEnvironment. “We're grateful to leaders in Congress, including Representative Fitzpatrick, who fought to ensure they're protected and funded in perpetuity."
“Now, perhaps more than ever, we are seeing how essential it is to be able to access public land and water for both physical and mental health,” said Amy Lindholm, LWCF Coalition Manager and Northeast Regional Coordinator for the Appalachian Mountain Club. “AMC applauds the bipartisan support for the Great American Outdoors Act with leaders like Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, whose longstanding efforts made the victory of permanently and fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund possible one year ago. As a leader of the national LWCF Coalition, we are celebrating the anniversary of this truly historic legislation that supports our nation’s vibrant recreation economy and local communities and helps ensure that everyone will be able to reach a park, forest, or trail to enjoy time in the outdoors.”
"Thanks to this landmark legislation and the funding it guarantees through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, places like the Delaware Water Gap and Nockamixon State Park will be protected in perpetuity for future generations,” said Rachel Rosenfeld, Online Organizer for the Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter. “However, as we celebrate this enormous conservation victory on the anniversary of its passing, we must also ensure that all people have equitable access to our outdoor spaces. The Great American Outdoors Act provides the necessary foundation for even greater investments."
“Trout Unlimited was honored to celebrate the 1 year anniversary of the Land & Water Conservation Fund on Wednesday with Congressman Fitzpatrick’s office along with our partner conservation organizations. The LWCF is critically important to hunters and anglers because it provides vital funds to secure access to public lands at no cost to the taxpayer,” said Emily Baldauff, Mid Atlantic Organizer for Trout Unlimited. “Public Land Management funds are critical to our mission of coldwater conservation.”
“The passage of the Great American Outdoors Act and its commitment to the Land and Water Conservation Fund is a major win for conservation, parks and open space in Pennsylvania,” said Kelly Herrenkohl, Vice President of Communications and Engagement for Natural Lands. “It means more of us will be able to care for our own physical and mental health as we spend time outdoors, and that we’ll be better able to protect and care for the natural world that sustains us all. We appreciate Representative Fitzpatrick’s commitment to this essential work and his leadership in Washington on our behalf.”
Fitzpatrick has long championed for permanently funding the LWCF and protecting public lands. In September of 2018, Fitzpatrick spoke on the House floor calling on Congress to permanently reauthorize the LWCF. In November of 2018, Fitzpatrick joined a bipartisan and bicameral group of Members of Congress in a rally on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, joining conservation leaders and outdoor recreation advocates. In June of 2019, Fitzpatrick joined a bipartisan coalition of Members of the House of Representatives in introducing the Land and Water Conversation Fund Permanent Funding Act. In December of 2019, Fitzpatrick and Rep. Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02) wrote an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer that lawmakers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey must prioritize protecting national parks. In May of 2020, Fitzpatrick joined over 100 legislators to request strong funding for federal programs that serve as the foundation of the outdoor recreation industry, a critical sector that provides jobs and economic support to communities across the country. In July 2020, Fitzpatrick and Penn Environment wrote an op-ed in The Intelligencer stressing the importance of protecting our parks.