The historic and bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act became law on Tuesday after being signed by President Trump.
American Sportfishing Association (ASA) President Glenn Hughes attended a ceremony at the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) headquarters, hosted by Secretary of the Interior David Bernhard celebrating the bill’s enactment. The ceremony also included the signing of a new proclamation establishing August 5, as Great American Outdoors Day, when all DOI fees will be waived.
“The sportfishing industry sincerely thanks President Trump and Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt for championing this critically important effort for conservation and outdoor recreation,” said Hughes. “Without their leadership, the Great American Outdoors Act, which will benefit the nation’s public lands for generations, could not have become law.”
The Great American Outdoors Act permanently funds the highly successful Land and Water Conservation Fund which, for the past five decades, has helped provide access to recreational areas, trails and waterways throughout the nation. Importantly for the sportfishing industry, the Great American Outdoors Act ensures that $15 million annually is dedicated to expanding public access for fishing and other forms of outdoor recreation.
It also creates the “National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund” to address the crumbling infrastructure on America's public lands and waters. This program will provide $9.5 billion over five years to the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to improve trails, campgrounds, roads, visitor centers and other infrastructure.
“We also want to thank the Great American Outdoors Act’s Congressional champions, particularly Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.),” said Hughes. “The success of the Great American Outdoors Act proves that by putting their partisan differences aside, legislators can come together for the sake of natural resource conservation.”