FOR RELEASE – August 4, 2020

Contact: Angie Rosser, 304-637-7201,


The Great American Outdoors Act is a Victory for West Virginia

Landmark Legislation Protects Public Lands and Expands Recreation Opportunities for Decades to Come

The Great American Outdoors Act, which was officially signed into law at a White House ceremony this morning, is the most significant conservation legislation in a generation. It will protect wildlife habitat, conserve public lands and waters, and expand outdoor recreation opportunities across our state – and across the nation. The law, which was passed by overwhelming bipartisan majorities in Congress earlier this summer, will permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and will provide up to $1.9 billion a year to address deferred maintenance issues at our national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and other public lands.

“For over 50 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has helped maintain such beloved recreation areas as the New River Gorge, Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, the Monongahela National Forest and 26 of our state parks. It has helped connect families with nature, increased access for boating, hiking, hunting and fishing, and fueled our growing outdoor recreation economy,” said Angie Rosser, executive director of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition. “The Great American Outdoors Act now guarantees that our public lands and recreation areas will thrive for future generations to enjoy.”

“The Great American Outdoors Act is a truly historic, bipartisan conservation accomplishment that will protect wildlife habitat, expand recreational opportunities, restore public lands and waters, and create good jobs,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation.

The shared appreciation of wild places was exemplified by West Virginia’s members of Congress who all co-sponsored the Act, demonstrating the power of public lands to bring Americans together.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is often called America’s most effective land conservation program, has been a top priority of West Virginia Rivers Coalition and the National Wildlife Federation. Fifty-six years ago, the National Wildlife Federation worked closely with Interior Secretary Stewart Udall and leaders in Congress to secure the initial passage of the program, and then worked to increase funding and programmatic impact in 1968, 1970 and 1977.

For the past six years, the West Virginia Rivers Coalition and the National Wildlife Federation helped lead the charge to permanently reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The bipartisan triumph of the Great America’s Outdoors Act is very much the result of the hard work of our members and partners, who spoke with their elected officials, wrote letters, and kept up a steady stream of advocacy for this important program.

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