Something rare happened today in Washington. A bipartisan bill was signed into law. The Great American Outdoors Act is the culmination of years of environmental and conservation negotiations.
WHAT IT DOES
The first thing this legislation does is create a funding stream to improve National Parks in this country.
While visitors have increased 50 percent since 1980, funding has not and it has created a maintenance backlog. Currently, there are around $12 billion dollars worth of repairs needed in America's National Parks.
The Great American Outdoors Act sends around $9 billion over the next five years to improve maintenance.
In Colorado, it means Rocky Mountain National Park will get improved sewage systems; in Montana, Glacier National Park will upgrade their camp grounds; in Arizona, the Grand Canyon will get drinking water pipelines fixed; in the Everglades of Florida, storm-damaged buildings can be repaired; and at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, 100-year-old trail heads will be updated with better parking lots and easier entrances.
LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION FUND
Apart from improving the maintenance in America's National Parks, the legislation also, for the first, permanently funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Money from that fund goes to improve and protect lands across the country. Revenue comes from oil and gas drilling around the country.