Our Stewardship Imperative: The Great American Outdoors Act

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FOR HUNTERS, ANGLERS AND THOSE DEDICATED TO FINDING ADVENTURE IN WILD COUNTRY, OUR PUBLIC LANDS AND WATERS ARE MORE THAN BACKDROPS FOR THE OUTDOOR TRADITIONS THAT HAVE SHAPED OUR HERITAGE; THEY’RE THE CATHEDRALS OF FELLOWSHIP IN WHICH WE GATHER WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY — PLACES WHERE WE CAN ALSO FIND SOLACE AS WE GET OUR BOOTS DIRTY AND SOULS CLEAN.

Sportsmen and women have a collective obligation to the stewardship of our natural resources and a duty to pass on this unique American legacy to the generations that follow us. Fortunately, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do just that. Right now, Congress is poised to consider the Great American Outdoors Act, H.R. 1957.

This bipartisan legislation dedicates $900 million to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the most successful public access and conservation program in the United States. Since its creation in 1964, LWCF has funded more than 40,000 projects ranging from fishing access sites to municipal ballparks. For communities, LWCF is a vital tool to invest in open spaces and local outdoor recreation economies. For hunters and anglers, LWCF is our most reliable source of public access funding.

Sportsmen and women have a collective obligation to the stewardship of our natural resources and a duty to pass on this unique American legacy to the generations that follow

The icing on the cake is that the Great American Outdoors Act doesn’t cost taxpayers a dime; these funds are nontaxpayer dollars already permanently authorized by Congress and intended specifically for LWCF. The bill also addresses the maintenance backlogs crippling our public land management agencies by providing $9.5 billion over five years. With nearly $20 billion in accumulated repair costs to roads, trails and aquatic structures alone, we can finally begin to reestablish our commitment to the ongoing maintenance needs of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, Bureau of Indian Education and National Park Service.

Now more than ever, people in our country are looking to the outdoors to connect with their families and rejuvenate their spirits. The Great American Outdoors Act responds to a pressing societal need.

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By addressing these funding quagmires and securing the future of a multifaceted program like LWCF, we can make a real difference for our communities by generating new jobs that put people back to work with shovel-ready projects that will boost outdoor recreation and public access. Additionally, with long-term certainty for proven programs like LWCF we can leverage private investments in conservation as well. This not only will benefit fish, wildlife and public access; it also will make the management of our lands and waters more efficient and effective. Furthermore, the Great American Outdoors Act will ensure that resources intended to support state and local projects will remain available for rural communities instead of being siphoned off by other agencies and unrelated programs.

Now more than ever, people in our country are looking to the outdoors to connect with their families and rejuvenate their spirits. The Great American Outdoors Act responds to a pressing societal need.

The Great American Outdoors Act is years in the making. Its passage would be the win of a lifetime for hunters, anglers and businesses like Filson that are rooted in our traditions and dedicated to serving our outdoors legacy. The outdoor recreation industry is responsible for generating $778 billion in annual spending and supports 5.2 million jobs. It’s important that we stand together, make our voices heard, and remind lawmakers about the economic force we drive in addition to the powerful conservation reach of a program like LWCF that has benefited every single county in the United States.

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After phone calls and emails came pouring in from hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts, U.S. senators passed their version of the Great American Outdoors Act just weeks ago with overwhelming bipartisan support. Now we need your help to cross the finish line in the House of Representatives and send this bill to the president’s desk.

“This country has been swinging the hammer of development so long and so hard that it has forgotten the anvil of wilderness which gave value and significance to its labors. The momentum of our blows is so unprecedented that the remaining remnant of wilderness will be pounded into road-dust long before we find out its values.”

These prophetic words were written by Aldo Leopold in 1935 and still resonate today. While apathy, social injustices and societal inequalities may feel insurmountable at times, our democracy is alive and well. It’s up to each of us to make a difference in our own way and defend against the tragic loss of undiscovered value noted by Leopold. Our public lands are a source of unity and equality open to all Americans, and we need to secure this landmark legislation in order to preserve them for future generations. Please join us in contacting your representative to pass the Great American Outdoors Act without amendments or delay.