McEachin Applauds Passage of Great American Outdoors Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today applauded bipartisan passage of the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), legislation to address priority repairs in our national parks and other public lands, as well as establish permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Last month, the GAOA passed overwhelmingly in the U.S. Senate. The bill will now move to the president’s desk to be signed into law.

“The COVID-19 crisis has shown us how critical our parks, trails, and public lands are to public health and local economies across our country,” said Congressman McEachin. “Today’s strong bipartisan vote on the Great American Outdoors Act is a significant win for conservation and will ensure that our public lands are preserved and accessible for Virginians and communities across our country for generations to come.”

The bill, which includes Sen. Mark Warner’s (D-VA) Restore Our Parks Act, will address the $12 billion deferred maintenance backlog at National Park Service sites across the country, including more than $1.1 billion dollars in deferred maintenance affecting national parks within the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

The passage of the GAOA follows the announcement this month of two recent land acquisitions funded by the LWCF at the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia.

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund is one of America's most successful conservation programs and has helped preserve many treasured places across the United States, including the Great Dismal Swamp,” added Congressman McEachin. “The Swamp is a great American storyteller – commemorating people, cultures, and events that are key to both the history of the Commonwealth and the United States – and I am pleased to support legislation that will enable us to further conserve sacred lands, like the Swamp.”

“Right here in Virginia, two recent acquisitions funded by the Land and Water Conservation Fund [will] provide Virginians expanded opportunities to enjoy the outdoors at the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Aurelia Skipwith. I appreciate Congressman McEachin's support for the Refuge and leadership in supporting public lands and conservation for Virginians and Americans across the nation."

Congressman McEachin counts the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge among his favorite places in Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District. This Congress, he introduced H.R. 5853, the Great Dismal Swamp National Heritage Act, to provide local and regional communities with the resources needed to ensure future generations can share in its quintessentially American story.