Margaret Wood Hassan

08/04/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 08/04/2020 17:33

President Signs Into Law Bill Cosponsored By Shaheen & Hassan to Permanently Fund LWCF, Address Maintenance Backlog on NH Public Lands

August 04, 2020

(Washington, DC)- Today, President Trump signed into law the Great American Outdoors Act, bipartisan legislation cosponsored by U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and provide mandatory funding for deferred maintenance on public lands. The LWCF helps preserve and maintain critical lands for national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and recreational areas in New Hampshire and across the country.

'New Hampshire's public lands must be treasured and protected, and we need to be continually expanding our conservation efforts - that's what this new law is all about. I am very pleased that this landmark legislation passed Congress with such strong, bipartisan support and has now been signed into law,' said Senator Shaheen. 'This law provides funding to address the serious maintenance backlogs around the state and helps ensure today's visitors and future generations can fully enjoy our beautiful lands. This law will also be a boon to our recreational economy, which is so important to our state and way of life. I'll continue to be a strong supporter of Congressional action to preserve and protect our environment and public lands.'

'New Hampshire's beautiful natural resources help define us as a state and are key to our economic strength, so I am glad that the President has signed this bipartisan bill into law,' Senator Hassansaid. 'The Great American Outdoors Act will further protect our state's natural beauty by permanently funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund and will reduce maintenance backlogs in our national forest, parks, and refuges. I will continue working across the aisle to strengthen conservation efforts in New Hampshire and across the country to help ensure that our natural resources can be enjoyed for generations to come.'

New Hampshire has a backlog of more than $43 million in deferred maintenance. The following areas are eligible for maintenance funding under the Great American Outdoors Act:

  • White Mountain National Forest
  • Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge
  • Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge
  • John Hay National Wildlife Refuge
  • Wapack National Wildlife Refuge
  • Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park
  • Conte National Wildlife Refuge
  • Appalachian Trail

Text of the Great American Outdoors Act is available here.

Shaheen and Hassan have led efforts to help secure full funding and permanent authorization for the LWCF, which has helped protect more than 2.5 million acres of land and supported tens of thousands of state and local outdoor recreation projects throughout the nation. Shaheen and Hassan's bipartisan bill to permanently reauthorize the LWCF was included in legislation that was signed into law last year. A senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Shaheen successfully secured $495 million in federal funding - $60 million over previous funding levels - for the LWCF in government funding legislation signed into law in December. Shaheen and Hassan are cosponsors of the Restore Our Parks Act, bipartisan legislation included in the Great American Outdoors Act that would address the $20 billion backlog in long delayed maintenance projects on public lands.

Last month, Shaheen visited Glen Ellis Falls to discuss the deferred maintenance needs of the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF) and highlight the importance of permanently funding the LWCF, which helps preserve and maintain sites like Glen Ellis Falls. The WMNF, where Glen Ellis Falls is located, would also be eligible for maintenance funding under the legislation that became law today. Additionally, last month Hassan toured the Jigger Johnson campground and hiked to Rocky Gorge in the White Mountain National Forest to discuss how the Great American Outdoors Act will benefit these sites.

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