State foresters celebrate passage of the Great American Outdoors Act

With a 310-107 vote yesterday evening, the House of Representatives agreed to pass the Senate-approved Great American Outdoors Act, sending the bipartisan bill to President Trump’s desk for signature.

WASHINGTON—Today the National Association of State Foresters and its members are celebrating the historic passage of the Great American Outdoors Act.

“We thank our members of Congress for all their efforts in getting the Great American Outdoors Act to the president’s desk,” said Greg Josten, NASF president and South Dakota state forester. “State foresters look forward to realizing the many benefits this legislation will yield for both the American people and their treasured forested landscapes well into the future.”

The Great American Outdoors Act would permanently and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million annually. It would also put nearly $2 billion each year for five years toward reducing the current $20 billion in deferred maintenance on public lands, including those managed by the USDA Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.

Notably, the LWCF provides essential support for one of NASF’s priority State and Private Forestry programs: the Forest Legacy Program. With the Forest Legacy Program (FLP), states, private landowners, and conservation groups can utilize federal assistance to protect working forests through permanent conservation easements and fee acquisitions.

“Working forests play an important role in sustaining the economic, ecological, and social well-being of America’s communities through the jobs they support and the benefits they provide, such as wildfire risk reduction, clean air and water, wildlife habitat, and outdoor recreation space,” said Jay Farrell, NASF executive director. “Dedicated funding for LWCF will make FLP funding more reliable, and potentially, more robust in the coming years; and that’s something to celebrate.”

Media Contact: Whitney Forman-Cook at wforman-cook@stateforesters.org