Senate Passes Great American Outdoors Act

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) by a bipartisan vote of 73-25. ORR members were at the forefront of this landmark legislation, leading the effort to include maintenance backlog funding for the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; bringing together more than 100 outdoor recreation businesses in support of GAOA; garnering Senate support and much more.

“Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and increased uncertainty as the country continues the process of reopening, it is encouraging to see our nation’s policymakers coming together and prioritizing legislation that ensures both local economies and families can reap the benefits of outdoor recreation activities like boating and fishing,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “Thanks to this overwhelmingly bipartisan effort, the Great American Outdoors Act is one step closer to protecting and expanding outdoor recreation opportunities across the country and we call on the U.S. House of Representatives to swiftly consider and pass this critical measure.”

“The Great American Outdoors Act is the single greatest piece of conservation and outdoor recreation legislation before Congress in decades,” said Jessica Turner, executive director of Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “Its overwhelmingly bipartisan passage in the Senate is proof that the outdoors crosses party lines and resonates with all Americans. We applaud Senate Republicans and Democrats for working together tirelessly to get this done. The entire outdoor recreation industry thanks every Senator who supported this bill and urges the House to move quickly to pass this measure so we can finally fully fund LWCF and begin the much-needed work on rebuilding infrastructure on our public lands and waters.”

“As the country takes steps toward economic recovery from COVID-19, federal investment in our public lands and waterways are critical to boost local economies, create thousands of jobs and protect and improve our national parks,” said Lise Aangeenbrug, executive director of the Outdoor. Industry Association. “These investments would also increase community access to nearby parks and trails, helping address gaps between where people live and nearby opportunities. In turn, more Americans will benefit from the health and well-being that parks and trails provide.”

“Public lands are incredibly important for providing recreational fishing opportunities throughout the country,” said Glenn Hughes, president of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA). “The Great American Outdoors Act is particularly timely. As the sportfishing industry, along with the country as a whole, continues to recover from the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are grateful to the Senate for helping the long-term recovery of our industry by passing the Great American Outdoors Act, and we call on the House of Representatives to swiftly pass it as well.”

“The powersports industry, including motorcycle, dirt bike, ATV, and side-by-side enthusiasts appreciate the Senate’s bipartisan support in passing the Great American Outdoors Act,” said Erik Pritchard, president and CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Council, Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association, and the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America. “GAOA will boost recreation opportunities and the economy by helping powersports dealerships across the country, as well as thousands of manufacturing employees in states like Georgia, Iowa, Nebraska, Michigan, and Minnesota for our member companies. I look forward to swift approval of the bill by the House of Representatives in the coming weeks.”

“For literally millions of small businesses located in gateway communities near national parks and forests, including private RV parks and campgrounds, the passage of this historic legislation will increase opportunities for people to recreate outdoors and support all businesses that make up the outdoor recreation industry,” said Paul Bambei, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC). “The Great American Outdoors Act passed today in the Senate is a historic moment for our nation. ARVC would like to thank the Senators who have supported not only our nation’s most beautiful outdoor spaces but the businesses that rely on those destinations for a large part of their success.”

“As national parks and forests across the country look to safely reopen, it’s encouraging to see the overwhelming support of Senators recognizing the need to direct significant funds toward critical deferred maintenance and campground modernization needs on our public lands and waters,” said Craig Kirby, president of the RV Industry Association. “We are grateful to the Senators who voted today to pass the Great American Outdoors Act and address these issues through this landmark legislation that supports outdoor recreation and conservation in our most treasured lands for generations to come.”