Landmark Great American Outdoors Act Passed By Congress
It’s no secret that many Americans are turning to RVing as a way to social distance while still having fun. As Americans get reacquainted with the breathtaking national parks and public lands, they are going to need safe and up-to-date places to park their RVs. The surrounding areas are going to need a boost in jobs to keep those areas ready for RVers too.
Congress, in a bipartisan effort, passed the Great American Outdoors Act on Wednesday, July 22nd. The bill, which has garnered sponsors and support from Republicans and Democrats in both the House and Senate, is expected to be signed by the president.
The bill will give the largest investment made to public lands in a little over 100 years. According to the Department of the Interior, the bill will also support over 100,000 direct and indirect jobs.
What will the Great American Outdoors Act fund?
The Great American Outdoors Act will invest up to $9.5 billion to address infrastructure into the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, BLM, and other agencies. On top of infrastructure improvement, the bill fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund and invests $900 million per year in public lands, parks, and trails.
Like any government spending bill, how are we paying for it? The bill calls for non-taxpayer funds to be used. These funds are coming from royalties the government gets on leases of federal land to energy companies. The bill, S. 3422 states,
“…50 percent of all energy development revenues due and payable to the United States from oil, gas, coal, or alternative or renewable energy development on Federal land and water…”
The Great American Outdoors Act is great news for the RVing community because many parks, campgrounds, roads, bridges, visitor centers, trails, docks, and other infrastructure in our public lands have needed updating and repair for decades.
Coupled with the funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund this bill provides, the bill will help ensure the quality and quantity of our water. RVIA President Craig Kirby mentioned,
“If you’re an RVer or any kind of outdoor recreation enthusiast, the Great American Outdoors Act is the best thing to happen to our community in six decades. Thank you to those Members of Congress who voted in favor of this landmark legislation that will direct significant funds toward critical deferred maintenance and campground modernization needs on our public lands and waters.
Twenty million RVers across the country depend on our iconic state and federal lands for recreation, conservation, enjoyment, and overnight camping. Enactment of this milestone legislation will mean increased recreation access for all no matter where they live, allowing more Americans to find fulfillment in living an active outdoor lifestyle.”