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July 22, 2020

Congressman Schweikert Supports Passage of Great American Outdoors Act

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Schweikert (AZ-06) voted in favor of the Great American Outdoors Act, legislation focused on protecting public lands and national parks across the United States.

“I am pleased to vote in favor of the Great American Outdoors Act, to ensure continued protection of our national parks, like Arizona’s own Grand Canyon National Park, for current and future generations to cherish,” said Congressman Schweikert. “This legislation will improve infrastructure and access to our national parks and public lands, while also generating new job growth. As someone who regularly hikes and actively enjoys public lands with my family throughout our beautiful state, I am pleased to help ensure we can all continue to enjoy these local treasures.”

The Great American Outdoors Act would permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund permanent and mandatory. Further, this bill would establish the National Parks and Public Land Restoration Fund to address the deferred maintenance backlog on public lands. 

Support for the Great American Outdoors Act:

This legislation is supported by President Trump, the U.S. Department of Interior, Department of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, more than 850 conservation and outdoor recreation groups, and 43 sportsmen and sportswomen groups

“Arizona’s national parks and public lands are tremendous assets for our state. From the Grand Canyon in the north to Saguaro National Park in the south, not only do they attract visitors from across the country and around the world, but they’re also job creators. We applaud Rep. Schweikert for his strong support of the Great American Outdoors Act, which will invest millions in needed infrastructure upgrades at these destinations, while boosting the economic fortunes of rural Arizona and our state’s tourism sector, which employs tens of thousands of hardworking men and women. Anything we can do to assist this industry deserves support. We look forward to Great American Outdoors Act being signed into law,” said Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry President and CEO Glenn Hamer.

“The Great American Outdoors Act is the most significant piece of public lands legislation in a generation,” said Matthew Nelson, Executive Director of the Arizona Trail Association. “The benefits to the Arizona Trail and natural areas throughout Arizona will be profound, including addressing the maintenance backlog on trails and in parks. We are proud of the bipartisan support this bill has received; it’s a testament to how America’s public lands can bring together a divided country. On behalf of all the hikers, runners, backpackers, mountain bikers and equestrians who have a connection to the Arizona National Scenic Trail, we offer our most sincere gratitude to Congressman Schweikert for voting in support of the Great American Outdoors Act.”

The passage of the Great American Outdoors Act is the final piece of the puzzle to ensure that the Land and Water Conservation Fund receives full and dedicated funding and addresses the large amounts of public land maintenance backlogs,” said Justin Nelson, Chairman of the Arizona Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. “Since its inception, Arizona has received nearly $250 million in LWCF funding to protect places such as the Tonto National Forest, as well as funding for urban parks and outdoor recreation areas in Arizona’s 6th district. Additionally, Arizona’s national park maintenance backlog is nearly $600 million, and this bill helps pave the way to addressing these long-standing issues. The Arizona Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers thanks Congressman Schweikert for supporting the bill.”

“Every county in Arizona has benefitted from the Land and Water Conservation Fund and today, we can say with great thanks, that gift will continue to give for decades to come. With more than $235 million invested over its 50 year history, this fund has protected our public lands and waters and provided necessary access for outdoor recreation. Equally important for anglers are the dollars dedicated to addressing the maintenance backlog on public lands which dumps sediment into rivers and streams and blocks fish migration. We want to thank Rep. Schweikert for addressing these key conservation issues and for supporting better fishing, better hunting and a better quality of life for all.” said Nathan Rees, Trout Unlimited project manager for the Angler Conservation Program in Arizona.  

“Today’s historic vote is the culmination of years of hard work by OIA and many businesses and organizations coming together to protect and expand access to America’s outdoors,” said Lise Aangeenbrug, executive director of Outdoor Industry Association (OIA). “This legislation has the added benefits of providing local communities a much-needed economic boost; creating thousands of jobs; and opening up access to parks, trails and waterways across the country.”  

“This is an incredible win for wildlife and our cherished public lands, but even more importantly it’s a huge win for Arizona’s families who will benefit from expanded opportunities for recreation and job creation,” said Scott Garlid, executive director of the Arizona Wildlife Federation. “The Great American Outdoors Act will ensure that the Land and Water Conservation Fund will continue to support cherished places as the Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest National Parks, Patagonia Lake State Park, and hundreds of other parks, trails and hunting and fishing access points across our state. We thank Congressman Schweikert for supporting passage of the historic legislation to protect Arizona wildlife. “

“Arizona is home to diverse public lands and outdoor recreation which draw millions of visitors from across the nation and world,” said Kim Sabow, President and CEO of the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association. “Our national, state and local parks, trails and public lands are a critical economic driver for communities. The Great American Outdoors Act will provide much needed resources to our state while the tourism industry begins to recover from the devastating economic impact of COVID-19.” 

Arozpma Sportsmen for Wildlife Conversation (AZSFWC) has long advocated for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LCWF), for its periodic reauthorization, and now permanent funding. The benefits of the LWCF span the entire outdoor recreation spectrum and offer opportunities for all our residents. AZSFWC is pleased the language is supporting this legislation is included in the Great American Outdoors Act, funding not only the LWCF, but finally addressing the maintenance backlog our Federal Land management agencies contend with in our National Parks, Monuments and other public lands with infrastructure needs,” said Jim Unmacht, AZSFWC Executive Director.


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