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Conservation Partners Celebrate Legislative Victory with PA Representatives

Oct 12, 2020

Great American Outdoors Act provides full and dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and maintenance backlog funding for public lands

Reading, P.A. – A bipartisan event was held Friday to recognize Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan and Congressman Dan Meuser for their conservation leadership and support of the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), which was signed into law earlier this month. The GAOA will fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and invest in critical repair needs within national parks and other public lands. The event, hosted by the Appalachian Mountain Club with Berks Nature at The Nature Place, was a celebratory roundtable discussion between Congresswoman Houlahan, a representative from Congressman Meuser’s office, and conservation partner organizations. The attendees discussed the decades long campaign to fund LWCF and the bright future of environmental conservation in Pennsylvania.

“Without the Land and Water Conservation Fund, it would not have been possible to protect the nearly 3,700 acres of contiguous, unfragmented acres of forests, lakes, and wetlands in The Northeast Connection project in Pike County, PA–lands that could have been lost forever to development. The Great American Outdoors Act, and the full and permanent funding of the LWCF, is an historic achievement and an integral component of conservation projects like these that protect our clean air and drinking water, provide habitat for wildlife, and provide recreational opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts for generations to come.”

  • Diane Rosencrance, Executive Director, Delaware Highlands Conservancy

“Nearly 40 iconic projects have been funded through the Land and Water Conservation Act in Berks County alone, including the very park we are in today, City of Reading owned Angelica Creek Park. Projects and acquisition of important landscapes in our communities like French Creek State Park, county parks like Red Bridge, Stonecliffe and the Heritage Center; municipal parks like Kutztown Borough Park, a community swimming pool in Hamburg, and Spring Township’s Cacoosing Meadows were acquired with LWC Act funding. These conservation and recreation areas make up the scenic views and community gathering spaces that are essential to our quality of life in Berks County. Making this funding permanent will insure that our citizens will have the ability to protect nature and invest in outdoor recreation for years to come.”

  • Kimberly Murphy, President, Berks Nature

“The Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed applauds our Congressional representatives for prioritizing conservation and bipartisanship to get the Great American Outdoors Act across the finish line. We’re thrilled that advocacy efforts have come into fruition with permanent, full funding flow to our outdoor recreation infrastructure and protect land that is essential to healthy water quality and wildlife habitat,”

  • Sandra Meola, Director, Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed

“Now, perhaps more than ever, Americans are showing how essential it is to be able to access public land and water for both physical and mental health. AMC applauds the bipartisan support for the Great American Outdoors Act with Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle who have made this victory possible to permanently and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and address the backlog of maintenance on our public lands. As a leader of the national LWCF Coalition, we are grateful for this truly historic action to support our nation’s vibrant recreation economy and local communities, as well as help ensure that everyone will be able to reach a park, forest, or trail near them to enjoy time in the outdoors that is truly restorative.”

  • John Judge, President and CEO, Appalachian Mountain Club

“Natural Lands celebrates the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act. For decades, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has help Pennsylvania and local communities advance their conservation priorities, preserve wildlife habitats, and protect the quality of their water.  Permanent and dedicated funding of the LWCF will ensure continued investment in local parks in under resourced communities, protection for essential open space, and access to places where families can connect with nature and each other.”

  • Kelly Herrenkohl, Vice President of Communications & Engagement, Natural Lands

“French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust and the communities we serve are very grateful for passage of the Great American Outdoors Act and the full and permanent funding it provides to the Land and Water Conservation Fund.  The mental and physical health benefits of preserved lands are increasingly evident at a time when we are pushing the resiliency of nature to new limits.  The public private partnerships fostered by the GAOA and the funding it leverages from the private sector will help us create a worthy and lasting legacy.”

  • Bill Gladden, Executive Director, French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust

“Schuylkill River Greenways is incredibly grateful for the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act and the full and permanent funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This legislation protects the tremendous resources in the Schuylkill River Watershed which we work every day to promote and connect communities to. In a time where the outdoors has proven to be a place of comfort and normality for all, it is uplifting to have such strong support for the natural resources that physically and mentally sustain us.”

  • Sarah Crothers, Education Director, Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area

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