What They Are Saying: MT Conservation Leaders Thank Daines for Leadership on Great American Outdoors Act

U.S. SENATE – ICYMI: U.S. Senator Steve Daines announced that the U.S. Senate will be voting on his bipartisan bill, the Great American Outdoors Act, in June. Daines’ bill requires full, mandatory funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and helps address the national park maintenance backlog. Here’s what Montana and national conservation leaders and stakeholders are saying about Daines successful efforts to deliver a historic vote on LWCF and the national park maintenance backlog.

“For the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation alone, LWCF has provided significant funding to complete 80 projects permanently protecting more than 150,000 acres of America’s most crucial elk habitat. This extraordinary legislation will expand and improve habitat for elk and other wildlife, increase public access for hunting and other recreation and stimulate the outdoor recreation economy. Senator Daines is to be commended for leading the effort with Senate leadership to bring this bill to the floor and for securing President Trump’s commitment to sign it when it reaches his desk.” – R. Kyle Weaver, President & CEO, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

“Once again, Senator Daines deserves our thanks for helping to get the Great American Outdoor Act, which includes permanent, full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Act, on the Senate floor for a vote.  This bipartisan bill will ensure that Montanans continue to enjoy unparalleled access to public land and water, as well as enhance and pass access to the places we treasure on to future generations. All Montana’s anglers can be thankful for his persistence today.” – David Brooks, Executive Director, Montana Trout Unlimited

“Conservation isn’t just about acquiring land; it’s also about taking care of the lands we already own. This bill will help do so by establishing an innovative fund exclusively devoted to addressing the billions of dollars of unmet maintenance needs in our national parks and other public lands. It’s an exciting day for those of us who have worked for years to clean off the tarnish from our crown jewels.” – Brian Yablonski, CEO, Property and Environment Research Center

“The Senate’s decision to soon vote on the bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act shows that it’s responding to the tremendous outpouring of public support for this milestone legislation. By investing in our parks and public lands, Congress will be ensuring access, preserving history, protecting local economies, and creating new jobs.” – Marcia Argust, Restore America’s Parks Campaign Director, The Pew Charitable Trusts. 

“A promised vote on the Senate floor on the Great American Outdoors Act is a tremendous step forward to fulfil the promise to fully fund LWCF, as well as to address the maintenance backlog on our public lands. LWCF plays a vital role in protecting and managing federal, state and local lands while supporting local economies and recreational opportunities across the country. We applaud Senators Daines, Tester, Manchin, Burr and all of the bipartisan leaders in the U.S. Senate for championing this critical conservation program.” – Larry Selzer, President and CEO, The Conservation Fund

“With the announcement that the Great American Outdoors Act will be considered by the full United States Senate in the coming weeks, the National Park Foundation is thrilled that this historic legislation is moving one critical step closer to becoming law. Years in the making, this bipartisan bill significantly addresses critical maintenance needs that have been deferred for years, ensuring that these special places remain accessible to all Americans and continue to serve as economic engines for local communities. The Foundation commends the legislation’s sponsors for their steadfast support and stands ready to work with leaders in Congress to get this major win for our parks across the finish line.” – Will Shafroth, President and CEO, National Park Foundation

“During this difficult time for the outdoor industry, one bright spot has been Americans’ increased appreciation for time spent outside. A major congressional proposal that could help our nation’s economy, jobs and rural communities come back from this pandemic, and Americans safely experience all the outdoors has to offer, is the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA). We appreciate all of Senators Daines, Gardner and Manchin’s efforts, and many others’ support, to secure this vital vote on GAOA in early June. We urge all congressional members who care about small businesses, resilient communities and healthy people to vote for this legislation.” – Jessica Wahl Turner, Executive Director, Outdoor Recreation Roundtable.

“We are very thankful to Senators Cory Gardner, Steve Daines, Michael Bennet, Joe Manchin and others for their efforts to get the Great American Outdoors Act passed. Having access to outdoor recreation, including riding trails for dirt bikes, ATVs, and side-by-sides, is immensely beneficial for the physical and mental wellbeing of Americans — especially in these times. As public lands reopen, we need to have responsible planning and adequate infrastructure, which the GAOA would address, so visitors can enjoy the outdoors safely.”- Erik Pritchard, President and CEO, The Motorcycle Industry Council, The Specialty Vehicle Institute of America, and the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association.

“As Americans across the country emerge from stay at home orders, there is an intense desire to get back to our cherished national lands. The Great American Outdoors Act offers innovative solutions and sustainable funding that will address the deferred maintenance backlog and ensure the safety and enjoyment for Americans today and decades to come. Campgrounds on federal lands are currently showing distressing signs of wear: crumbling roads and bridges; deferred maintenance needs; and limited camping availability, jeopardizing not only the RV industry but the entire outdoor recreation industry. We are grateful to the leadership of Senator Daines and others to address the needs of our public lands and support outdoor recreation.” – Jay Landers, Vice President ,RV Industry Association

“Sportsmen and women have been leading voices in the effort to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, as well as providing maintenance funding to agencies that manage places critical to public access and fish and wildlife. Our public lands and waters have traditionally been places of refuge, of solace and of adventure. Never has this been truer than right now, when we need to recenter and get our minds right. Now is the moment to strategically invest in these places of refuge by funding shovel-ready projects that sustain important habitat, increase public access opportunities, and get people back to work. Backcountry Hunters & Anglers thanks our Senate leaders for recognizing the importance of these strategic investments. We look forward to working with Sen. Daines and his colleagues to rapidly advance this bill.” – Land Tawney, President and CEO, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers