Investments to Protect the Lands and Waters that Sustain Our Nation
“Through the Great American Outdoors Act, we are making critical investments that will create tens of thousands of jobs, safeguard the environment, and help ensure that national parks and public lands are ready to meet the challenges of climate change and increased visitation.”
—Secretary Deb Haaland
It has never been more important to invest in America’s public lands and waters to strengthen the nation’s infrastructure and competitiveness, create good-paying jobs, and help combat climate change.
Through the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), the Department of the Interior is investing in much-needed maintenance for critical facilities and infrastructure in our national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, recreation areas, and Tribal schools. Signed into law in 2020, GAOA authorized up to $1.6 billion annually for five years to fund deferred maintenance projects on public lands and at Tribal schools.
GAOA also provides permanent, full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million annually to improve recreational opportunities on public lands, protect watersheds and wildlife and preserve ecosystem benefits for local communities. This includes the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) program, which is the only LWCF competitive grant program dedicated to addressing the recreational gap in underserved urban areas. The LWCF has funded $4 billion worth of projects in every county in the country for over 50 years.
These unprecedented investments will support tens of thousands of jobs, improve public access and visitor experiences, advance environmental justice and contribute billions of dollars to local economies.
In 2021 alone, the Department’s GAOA investments will support an estimated 18,851 jobs and contribute $2 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product.
These investments also benefit underserved communities and help advance the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to racial equity. GAOA projects will provide an economic boost to underserved communities, contribute to the remediation and reduction of legacy pollution, develop clean water infrastructure and invest in Bureau of Indian Education-funded schools.
We are committed to addressing the long-delayed maintenance needs of the nation’s aging buildings and infrastructure. Together we will improve the nation’s conservation and recreation opportunities, protect our national treasures for future generations, and invest in local economies.