Dear PERC friends,
After years of work on ways to address maintenance needs on our public lands, today we celebrate that the Great American Outdoors Act was signed into law. With $20 billion of overdue maintenance on leaky wastewater systems, dilapidated trails, and deteriorating campgrounds on our public lands, this legislation is a necessary step forward for conservation. Though the new law is popular for its land acquisition component, PERC is excited about the fund it establishes that will dedicate up to $9.5 billion to specifically address the backlog of deferred maintenance on public lands. By allocating energy revenues into this fund, free from congressional budgetary squabbles, the legislation takes an important step toward fulfilling our duty as conservationists: caring for the land we already own.
PERC has long advocated for responsible solutions to address the deferred maintenance backlog and has been a key leader in informing policymakers about how to address this growing concern. Through congressional testimony, research projects, and various publications, we’ve been slowly moving the needle on this issue for nearly two decades. Today, we can say with pride that our hard work has paid off.
To be sure, our work isn’t done; the maintenance fund is only authorized for five years, while funding for the land-acquisition component of the bill is permanent. But the Great American Outdoors Act is an important step toward acknowledging that conservation is about caring for and maintaining what we already own, a core tenet of conservation PERC has advocated for over our 40-year history.
As we celebrate this victory, we also look ahead to the future of public lands stewardship and PERC’s role in finding creative, market-based solutions to improve the management of these wild, public spaces.
Thank you for your support of our work, and we hope you can take some time to celebrate along with us in your favorite national park or most treasured public trail.