By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff
SEMA and 30 other national associations that comprise the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) are calling on the U.S. Congress to pass S. 3422, the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), a bill that is critically important to revitalizing America’s outdoor recreation industry. The GAOA would dedicate $9.5 billion over five years to address the maintenance backlog on federally owned lands by creating a national parks and public land legacy restoration fund. The bill would also appropriate $900 million annually to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The legislation is critical to addressing the infrastructure needs facing our public lands and waters, such as improving trails, roads, docks, campgrounds and more.
The GAOA would allocate $1.9-billion-per-year for fiscal years 2021–2025 for maintenance backlog on public lands. The bill would also fully fund the LWCF and allocate 70% of the funds to the National Park Service, 10% to the Forest Service, 10% to the Fish and Wildlife Service, 5% to the Bureau of Land Management and 5% to the Bureau of Indian Education.
ORR is the nation’s leading coalition of outdoor recreation trade associations that represent over 100,000 businesses. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the outdoor recreation industry generated $778 billion in output, accounted for 2.2% of GDP, supported 5.2 million jobs and was growing faster than the economy as a whole in every indicator.
Addressing the infrastructure needs of our public lands will create jobs, revitalize communities, and provide Americans with access to open spaces. SEMA members welcome the opportunity to help achieve these goals especially when it comes to providing motorized recreation (four-wheel, ATVs and UTVs) and all the equipment that makes it possible to tow trailers, boats and off-road vehicles (suspension, wheels, tires, performance accessories, etc.). ORR is urging lawmakers to consider passage of the GAOA this summer.
ORR is also working with the U.S. Department of Interior, the U.S. Forest Service and state agencies to underscore the importance of reopening lands for recreation while maintaining social distancing. The group is recommending ways that recreation sites can re-open with reasonable modifications, such as opening trails while keeping visitor centers closed.
For more information, contact Eric Snyder at firstname.lastname@example.org.