Historic Act will provide permanent, dedicated funding for conservation, billions of additional dollars to repair and improve infrastructure on BLM public lands, national parks,wildlife refuges and other public lands
WASHINGTON – To commemorate President Donald J. Trump’s signing of the Great American Outdoors Act of 2020 into law this week, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will join other Department of the Interior agencies in providing free access to public lands nationwide on Wednesday, August 5. The signing of this historic conservation law will provide full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and billions of additional dollars to fund infrastructure projects on public lands nationwide.
“President Trump has just enacted the most consequential dedicated funding for national parks, wildlife refuges, public recreation facilities and American Indian school infrastructure in U.S. history,” said Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt.
“I’ve designated August 4 as Great American Outdoors Day and waived entrance fees to celebrate the passage of this historic conservation law.”
“President Trump’s signing of the Great American Outdoors Act achieves what past presidents and legislators have sought for decades, but failed to carry across the finish line – permanent, dedicated funding for conservation and recreation projects across the nation, while also funding much-needed repairs to critical facilities and infrastructure in our national parks, national forests, wildlife refuges, public lands and at our Bureau of Indian Education schools,” said BLM Deputy Director for Programs and Policy William Perry Pendley.
On Wednesday, August 5, site-specific standard amenity and day-use fees at BLM recreation sites and areas will be waived. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt also announced that August 4th will be designated “Great American Outdoors Day,” a fee-free day each year moving forward to commemorate the signing of the Act. This fee-free day will join National Get Outdoors Day in June, National Public Lands Day in September and other recognized days as annual fee-free days.
The BLM New Mexico sites that will be fee-free on Aug. 5 are listed below:
- Wild Rivers Recreation Area
- Rio Grande Gorge Overlook
- Rob Jaggers Campground
- Cave Campground
- Valley of Fires Recreation Area
- Haystack Mountain OHV Area
- Mescalero Sands North Dune OHV Area
- Dripping Springs
- La Cueva
- Aguirre Springs (Currently open for day use only)
The Great American Outdoors Act will provide half of all receipts from energy development on federal lands and waters, up to $1.9 billion per year, for five years to address facility and infrastructure needs. At the same time, the legislation permanently funds the LWCF to the tune of $900 million a year to invest in conservation and recreation opportunities across the country.
Since its creation in 1964, the LWCF has provided a portion of royalties from offshore oil and gas development on the Outer Continental Shelf to protect, acquire and preserve vulnerable natural and cultural resources— for national parks, monuments, wildlife refuges and other federal lands, as well as local parks, trails and recreation areas—in every state. It has been a tremendous success, but until President Trump acted, a large portion of that funding was diverted by Congress to other priorities and projects.
The BLM’s share of infrastructure funds will be $65 million a year for five years. Funding will be used to target long overdue repair needs at administration sites, including fire facilities, visitor centers, recreation sites, dams, bridges and warehouse buildings.
BLM-managed public lands offer a wide array of recreational opportunities, including hiking, hunting, fishing, camping, mountain biking, horseback riding, boating, white water rafting, off-highway vehicle driving, rock climbing and more. Americans make approximately 67 million visits annually to BLM-managed lands, supporting approximately 48,000 jobs nationwide and contributing almost $7 billion to the U.S. economy.