Senator Chris Murphy is touting Senate passage of the Great American Outdoors Act. The bipartisan legislation fully and permanently funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund to ensure protection of and access to public lands. The legislation now heads to the House.
It has funded over $60 million in conservation projects across the state since the program was created in 1965. As the threats from climate change become more severe, Murphy says providing permanent funding for LWCF will help Connecticut mitigate and adapt to those shifts. In addition, with aging park facilities and decreased visitation revenue, this bill will help address the deferred maintenance backlog of $2.3 million at Connecticut's National Park sites.
The fund provides cost-sharing grants to help support timber sector jobs and sustainable forest operations in working forests like the Skiff Mountain in Kent and Great Mountain Forest in Norfolk. More than $12 million in federal funding through the program has been invested in Connecticut’s forests while furthering conservation goals.
The outdoor recreation sector is an important component of Connecticut’s economy, contributing $9 billion in consumer spending each year, supporting nearly 70,000 jobs generating $2.9 billion in wages and salaries, and adding $734 million in state and local tax revenues, according to the Outdoor Industry Association.