Mass Audubon Applauds Bi-partisan Senate Approval of Great American Outdoors Act; Calls for Quick Passage by the House Followed by President's Signature
Michael P. O'Connor
Mass Audubon applauds the U.S. Senate’s bi-partisan support for the Great American Outdoors Act, which will fully fund the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, and urges the House of Representatives and President Trump to quickly make it law.
“The Great American Outdoors Act is one of the most important pieces of natural resource legislation in a generation,” Mass Audubon President David O’Neill noted, “and passage will serve as an historical milestone in guaranteeing the nation’s environmental security during a time of great uncertainty and challenge.
“We call upon the House to pass the bill quickly and send it to the President for his immediate signature,” O’Neill said.
The legislation will ensure that the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) receives its annual $900 million allocation and also sets aside $9.5 billion over five years to tackle a longstanding maintenance backlog in the national parks system.
Congress created the Fund in 1965 to develop and maintain a nationwide legacy of high-quality recreation areas, but in recent years LWCF has been beset by insufficient funding, which has endangered its mission.
Mass Audubon has supported full LWCF funding for decades; the state’s largest nature conservation nonprofit has worked tirelessly alongside the Massachusetts congressional delegation and other environmental partners to reach this signature moment in environmental stewardship.
In Massachusetts, LWCF has supported large federal open spaces including the Cape Cod National Seashore; Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, a river/freshwater marsh corridor extending through a string Middlesex County communities; and the Silvio Conte National Wildlife Refuge in the Connecticut River Valley.
But the Fund has also had an important impact at the local level, supporting Bay State municipalities in maintaining and improving their public parks and recreation areas.
Mass Audubon protects more than 38,000 acres of land throughout Massachusetts, saving birds and other wildlife, and making nature accessible to all. As Massachusetts' largest nature conservation nonprofit, we welcome more than a half million visitors a year to our wildlife sanctuaries and 20 nature centers. From inspiring hilltop views to breathtaking coastal landscapes, serene woods, and working farms, we believe in protecting our state's natural treasures for wildlife and for all people's vision shared in 1896 by our founders, two extraordinary Boston women.
Today, Mass Audubon is a nationally recognized environmental education leader, offering thousands of camp, school, and adult programs that get over 225,000 kids and adults outdoors every year. With more than 135,000 members and supporters, we advocate on Beacon Hill and beyond, and conduct conservation research to preserve the natural heritage of our beautiful state for today's and future generations. We welcome you to explore a nearby sanctuary, find inspiration, and get involved. Learn how at www.massaudubon.org.