EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The National Wild Turkey Federation applauds the U.S. Senate for its action to protect the nation’s public lands and provide permanent funding for conservation.
The U.S. Senate voted to approve the Great American Outdoors Act, championed by Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado), Sen. Steve Daines (R-Montana) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia).
Senate Bill 3422 is a conservation bill with broad bipartisan support and is aimed at providing permanent full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which conserves critical lands and helps to create access to landlocked public lands through its Making Public Lands Public provision (for which NWTF has long advocated).
The act also creates the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund to address the maintenance backlog on federal lands, including national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges and Bureau of Land Management lands. Funding will come from a portion of federal revenues from the development of oil, gas, coal or alternative/renewable energy on federal lands and waters.
“The NWTF was instrumental in ensuring national forests, which were not eligible in the original bill, were included and will receive 15% of the annual deposits,” said Joel Pedersen, NWTF director of government affairs “This could mean up to $285 million annually for improving infrastructure on national forests.”
“This is a boon for America’s public lands, conservation and the people who enjoy recreating on federal lands,” NWTF CEO Becky Humphries said. “Ensuring permanent backing by Congress and providing dedicated funding to ease the backlog of much-needed infrastructure improvements is a bright light in an otherwise dark time in our history. Easy access to the outdoors is important to the health and spirit of Americans, and this action will allow improvements to roads and other points of access.”
A bipartisan group of 12 House lawmakers, led by Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-South Carolina), introduced companion legislation in the House on June 4.
About the National Wild Turkey FederationWhen the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were about 1.3 million wild turkeys in North America. After decades of work, that number hit a historic high of almost 7 million turkeys. To succeed, the NWTF stood behind science-based conservation and hunters’ rights. The NWTF Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative is a charge that mobilizes science, fundraising and devoted volunteers to conserve enhance more than 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, recruit at least 1.5 million hunters and open access to 500,000 acres for hunting. For more information, visit NWTF.org.