On Wednesday, Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) voted in favor of the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA). The GAOA provides $9.5 billion over five years to pay down the National Park Service’s maintenance backlog and provides permanent funding at $900 million per year for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. In Virginia alone, there is more than $1 billion worth of deferred maintenance at our national parks.
“As an avid outdoorsman, hunter, and angler, I believe that preserving our natural resources for future generations is one of the most important things we can do as good stewards of our Earth and our beautiful Commonwealth,” Congressman Wittman said. “The historic Great American Outdoors Act goes a long way to improving our recreational areas across the nation, ensuring that the places we use to reconnect, relax, and recreate are maintained for years to come. I was proud to support this legislation to provide vital federal resources for land conservation and maintenance for our outdoor recreational areas, national parks, and wildlife refuges throughout our region and the Commonwealth.”
The GAOA funds come at a time of increased outdoor recreation as people turn to outdoor activities to combat the spread of COVID-19. These funds will also go towards conservation of vital lands along the Chesapeake Bay and the Bay watershed, lands that are vital to the overall ecological health of our region. Also in this bill is the inclusion of $3 billion to repair and maintain public land infrastructure overseen by the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Forest Service, agencies that provide critically important recreational opportunities for America's sportsmen and women. This legislation will provide an enormous boost for public access to parks in the coming years.
Before being elected to Congress, Congressman Wittman served over 25 years as a public health scientist for the Virginia Department of Health, conducting field research in the Chesapeake Bay. From his experience, he is aware of the ecological challenges facing Virginia public lands, waters, and the environment.
Click here for additional work Congressman Wittman has done to support the environment
Congressman Rob Wittman represents the 1st District of Virginia. He serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Armed Services Committee, where he serves as the ranking member of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.