How The Great American Outdoors Act Can Improve Trails Near You
UPDATE, AUGUST 4: The Great American Outdoors Act has been signed into law. Funding becomes available October 1st.
UPDATE, JULY 22: The House passed the Great American Outdoors Act 310–107. Now it heads to the President's desk. More information is here.
UPDATE, JULY 13: The House will be voting on The Great American Outdoors Act next week! Tell your Representatives you support more funding for trails and recreation.
UPDATE, JUNE 17: The Senate has passed The Great American Outdoors Act, 73 to 25! Now the bill is onto the House.
UPDATE, JUNE 10: The Senate is expected to vote on the Great American Outdoors Act the second week of June.
MARCH 9: The Great American Outdoors Act will be introduced in the Senate today, and your Senators need to hear that you support it! This set of bills is a monumental opportunity to net more money for trails, recreation projects and trail maintenance.
The Act includes dedicated full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) following its recent permanent reauthorization, which you helped pass earlier this year. Dedicated funding is the next big step in decades-long advocacy work for LWCF!
This Act also addresses the trail maintenance backlog for the National Park Service, the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. IMBA and our partners worked hard to include the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management in the Act, and your Senators need to make sure those agencies remain included because they are so important for mountain biking. Read more background on the Act from our partners at Outdoor Alliance.
This is an incredible opportunity for trails and these bills are moving fast. The Senate could vote on The Great American Outdoors Act this week. Show your support today!
Since 1964, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has helped create trailheads, parks, mountain bike trails and other great outdoor recreation opportunities to enjoy all across the country. Eight IMBA EPICS, from Arkansas to Montana to Wisconsin, have been made possible through LWCF funding. LWCF is a popular, bipartisan program that reinvests royalties from offshore oil and gas drilling into recreation and conservation projects, and is one of the best federal funding tools for trails in the history of our sport. Every year Congress decides on funding levels for LWCF as part of the appropriations process, and consistently fails to actually spend the $900 million allocated to the fund. This dedicated funding means more money for LWCF projects without giving Congress the opportunity to use funds for other purposes.
Meanwhile, the deferred maintenance backlog on our public lands is a staggering challenge to the tune of tens of billions of dollars across agencies, with the Forest Service having unfunded maintenance of more than $5 billion. Our IMBA Local Partners are intimately familiar with this gap, and have long helped federal land managers evaluate existing mountain bike trails and address maintenance issues to ensure an enjoyable mountain biking experience. Local Partners contributed more than 54,000 hours of volunteer stewardship on public lands in 2019.
How can you make a difference? Contact your Senators and urge them to pass the Great American Outdoors Act. We've made it easy for you to hit the high notes with the tool below, but the more personalized your message, the better. Thanks for being an awesome advocate!