President Trump Signs Great American Outdoors Act

President Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act into law, which will help improve public lands and stabilize funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

President Trump Signs Great American Outdoors Act

The Great American Outdoors Act will provide funding to help public lands for hunters, anglers and all outdoors enthusiasts. (Photo: Alan Clemons)

Money for myriad projects, agencies and the Land and Water Conservation Fund has been approved thanks to President Trump's signing of the Great American Outdoors Act into law.

It provides full and permanent funding of $900 million per year for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a 55-year-old fund that repeatedly has been pillaged for non-conservation projects. The law ensures all funding is directed to its intended purpose of state and federal conservation projects. It also provides $9.5 billion over five years for federal land management agencies to tackle deferred maintenance backlogs.

The bill was approved by the House in July on a vote of 310-107, and passed the Senate in June on a vote of 73-25

Plaudits rolled in from organizations after the official signing ceremony.

"The Boone and Crockett Club's founder, Theodore Roosevelt, would be proud of this commitment to invest in the management of the public lands legacy that he created," said Boone and Crockett Club President Tim Brady. "The Great American Outdoors Act brought together both parties because conservation is one of the few issues that everyone in this great country can get behind. Whether you hunt, fish, camp, hike, backpack, walk, paddle or just like to take your child to the neighborhood park, this new law will benefit all Americans."

"We also appreciate the hard work of Senators Cory Gardner, Steve Daines, and Joe Manchin for working with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to lead this bill through the Senate, along with Representatives Joe Cunningham (D-SC) and Mike Simpson (R-ID) who worked with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to lead the bill through the House. Enacting this legislation will rank among the most historic conservation actions in decades, and the sportsmen-conservation community can take pride in our work to ensure that this bill became law."


Public Land Infrastructure

The Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation led a successful effort to secure the inclusion of $3 billion to repair and maintain public land infrastructure overseen by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and U.S. Forest Service (USFS), agencies that provide critically important recreational opportunities for America's sportsmen and women.

"We have been working on this effort for many years, and we are thrilled that the Great American Outdoors Act is now permanent federal law with the President's signature. This is a once-in-a-lifetime victory for sportsmen and women," said CSF President Jeff Crane. "Now, we will finally realize the benefits of increased conservation funding, increased access for hunters and anglers, more support for public lands and waters, and a boost in the sporting-conservation economy. CSF extends our sincere thanks to the House and Senate Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus members who championed and voted to support these priorities."

The inclusion of funding specifically for BLM, USFWS, and USFS lands and waters will ensure that Americans have the ability to access critically important hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting opportunities. More than 246 million acres, or 99%, of BLM lands are open to hunting and fishing while the USFS reports that 99% of the 193 million acres it administers are open to hunting and at least 99% of USFS administered rivers, streams, and lakes are open to fishing.

Collectively, BLM, USFWS, and USFS annually support more than 25 million hunting days and nearly 45 million fishing days, highlighting the importance of these lands for America's sportsmen and women as well as the outdoor economy. Additionally, funding to address these agencies' maintenance backlog will create more than 100,000 employment opportunities.

The Great American Outdoors Act also ensures $15 million annually is dedicated to increase public access for hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and other forms of outdoor recreation.


Restoration Fund 

This legislation will create a National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund to address the growing maintenance backlog on federal public lands.

Half the revenue from energy development on public lands would be allocated to the fund and distributed to the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Indian Education to cover overdue maintenance costs. 

“The truly bipartisan nature of this bill is commendable, and the President’s signature today puts the finishing touches on what will go down as one of the great conservation achievements of our lifetime," said Ducks Unlimited CEO Adam Putnam. “Now that it’s the law of the land, we look forward to working with our partners at federal and state agencies, and in the conservation community, to help deliver this law’s ambitious promises to improve the American landscape for generations to come.” 

These new investments will boost America’s outdoor recreation industry, which generates $887 billion annually and supports 7.6 million American jobs.

Information and quotes provided by Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, SCI, and Boone and Crockett Club.


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