Next week, members of the Senate will meet for a cloture vote on S. 3422, the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), and are set to begin debate on the bill Monday evening. NASF and other members of the Forest Climate Working Group have already sent a letter in support of the GAOA.
GAOA would permanently and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million annually. The LWCF provides support for one of NASF’s priority State and Private Forestry programs: the Forest Legacy Program.
The Forest Legacy Program provides critical federal assistance to states, private landowners, and conservation groups 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 threat reduction, clean air and water, wildlife habitat, and outdoor recreation space.
The GAOA would also create a five-year fund to reduce the current $20 billion in deferred maintenance on public lands, including those managed by the USDA Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.