The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR), the country’s leading outdoor recreation coalition, released a statement while participating in discussion with U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Chief Randy Moore in commemoration of the Great American Outdoors Act’s (GAOA) second anniversary.
“In the early stages of 2020, when the pandemic was raging, stores and businesses were shuttered, and many treasured outdoor locations closed to the public, it was hard to imagine we would pass one of the most significant pieces of outdoor legislation in decades,” said ORR President Jessica Turner.
“Fast forward two years, and GAOA is already a huge success, permanently funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund with at least $900 million each year and ensuring substantial resources for federal land and water management agencies to fix and maintain our parks, forests, trails, campgrounds, lakes, and rivers.
GAOA’s second anniversary was the best opportunity for a discussion regarding the future of recreation infrastructure, the renewal of the Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation, rural economic development, and more, as per the News & Insights report of the RV Industry Association (RVIA).
The Bureau of Land Management had included connecting underserved communities to recreation as part of their prioritization process, which the RVIA recommended when the law was passed. Several of its LWCF priority projects have already been funded.
Despite the numerous outdoor projects yet to be funded, updated, or fixed, the support for the outdoors looks promising, and how far the $689 billion outdoor recreation economy has come.
Since the GAOA was signed into law, many great projects have been approved for funding, like the Cave Run Lake Pavement Resurface project at the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky, allocating $6 million to improve recreational boating infrastructure at six different boat ramps,
The Tuolumne Meadows Campground Rehabilitation project at Yosemite National Park is another GAOA-funded project, utilizing $26 million to improve drive-in campsites, horse camps, day use sites, and make accessibility improvements, as well as many more projects across the country.
To commemorate the second anniversary of the signage of the Great American Outdoors Act, the National Park Service offered free admission to its parks last August 4.
Signed in 2020, which authorized additional funding for the maintenance of national parks and established August 4 as an annual entrance fee-free day called “Great American Outdoors Day.”
GAOA gave the USFS new opportunities to benefit the American public through major investments in recreation infrastructure, public lands access, and land and water conservation.