On August 4, 2020, President Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act into law. A diverse coalition of national and state organizations, including the Shenandoah National Park Trust, worked hard to make it happen.
We couldn’t have done this without your support.
This is a historic piece of legislation. The Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) is considered to be the government’s most significant investment in outdoor conservation in decades. This is critical for all Americans who love public lands, especially in these difficult times.
This legislation will establish the National Parks and Public Lands Legacy Fund, which directs up to $9.5 billion over five years to repair aging infrastructure in national parks, national forests, and other public lands. Shenandoah National Park’s backlog of deferred maintenance on overlooks, trails, water and electrical systems, and other structure totals roughly $90 million.
Spending time outdoors with the opportunity to social distance is more important than ever. Better access to parks, more greenways, and established trails in parks have offered mental and emotional health benefits during COVID-19. In fact, 83 percent of U.S. adults agree that visiting open spaces, local and national parks is crucial for mental and physical well-being, according to a National Recreation and Parks Association report.
The bill will create hundreds of thousands of jobs and foster new recreation opportunities in communities around the country. Plus, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) will have a positive environmental impact on every county throughout the country. At $900 million annually, the GAOA will fully fund the LWCF.
When these funds are made available to parks (which may still be a few years away), the Trust will work closely with Shenandoah National Park to identify projects where your philanthropy, coupled with GAOA monies, can make the greatest impact. In the meantime, the Trust continues to work tirelessly, with your support, to protect and enhance Shenandoah National Park. Join us in our efforts.