On Wednesday July 22nd, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) helped pass the bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act, one of the most significant investments in conservation passed by Congress. The bill will fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), and create the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund, which provides funding to the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Education to make improvements to trails, roads, buildings and public infrastructure in need of repair.
“We are stewards of the Hudson Valley’s environment, and it’s our job to ensure our kids and grandkids can continue to enjoy New York’s outdoor traditions for generations to come. The Great American Outdoors Act will fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and support projects right here in the Hudson Valley that protect our environment and give New Yorkers access to the natural beauty of the Hudson Valley,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) enhances and establishes local, state and national land and water preservation areas. The LWCF funds a wide variety of projects across New York– from creating regional and local trail and park networks to safeguarding clean drinking water sources. Fully funding the LWCF will expand public lands and parks, and help support the Hudson Valley’s outdoor recreation and sportsperson’s industry. The Great American Outdoors Act includes provisions to protect this funding and ensure LWCF funds are not appropriated elsewhere for other purposes.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund has invested more than $336 million to protect New York’s wildlife and environment and expand access to outdoor recreation. This includes projects to protect and improve access to the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge, Sterling Forest, and other watersheds, wildlife habitats and forests in the Hudson Valley supported through the Highlands Conservation Act.
The Fund will provide funding for National Park Service trails and protected lands in the Hudson Valley, including the Appalachian Trail National Scenic Trail, the Hudson River Valley Heritage Area, the Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River, and the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route.
New York’s outdoor recreation industry generates $41.8 billion for the state and supports 313,000 jobs. Nationally, the outdoor recreation industry generates over $887 billion and supports 7.6 million jobs.