06.16.20

Theodore Roosevelt IV Calls for Passage of Great American Outdoors Act

“This outstanding bipartisan legislation will ensure every American has access to the outdoors, no matter where they live,” said Roosevelt

Washington, D.C. – Theodore Roosevelt IV, the great-grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt, called for passage of the bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act, introduced by U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Joe Manchin (D-WV). Gardner and Manchin’s landmark conservation legislation fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at a level of $900 million and addresses the approximately $20 billion maintenance backlog on federal public lands.

“I’m deeply honored that Theodore Roosevelt IV supports the Great American Outdoors Act,” said Senator Gardner. “His great-grandfather, President Teddy Roosevelt, is certainly a hero to many of us and the conservation movement as a whole. The public lands we cherish today would not be possible without President Roosevelt’s bold vision for America, and when Senator Daines and I secured President Trump’s support for this bipartisan legislation, it was in the Roosevelt Room at the White House – a fitting location to discuss this historic legislation. This week the Senate has the opportunity to honor his legacy and the lands we love by passing the Great American Outdoors Act.”

“Now, more than ever, we are relying on our public lands to get outdoors, to connect with the world, to support jobs, and to strength our communities. In this time of uncertainty, we have been given a once in a lifetime opportunity to protect our public lands and waters for all generations to come,” wrote Theodore Roosevelt IV. “Passing the Great American Outdoors Act would be taking a page from President Theodore Roosevelt’s book: protecting the quintessence of who we are as Americans in the stewardship of our natural places, great and small. President Roosevelt set conservation as a priority - a duty - for a great and far-sighted nation in recognition that our natural bounty is the foundation for all else. Without it, we cannot prosper.”

Gardner is co-chair of the Senate Roosevelt Conservation Caucus, which he helped form last year.

The full text of the letter is available here and below:

Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, Minority Leader Schumer, and Minority Leader McCarthy:

From east to west, America is home to incredible lands, waters, and cultural treasures. Now, more than ever, we are relying on our public lands to get outdoors, to connect with the world, to support jobs, and to strength our communities. In this time of uncertainty, we have been given a once in a lifetime opportunity to protect our public lands and waters for all generations to come.

I write to you today to urge swift passage and enactment of the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) – legislation that will provide much needed support to the outdoor places we all depend on. This bill will fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), our nation’s most important conservation program, to ensure protection and increased access to public lands in every state and county in America. Additionally, GAOA will fund priority repairs in our National Parks and on other public lands to address an ever-growing backlog of maintenance needs.

This outstanding bipartisan legislation will ensure every American has access to the outdoors, no matter where they live. It will also help our communities and nation recover by creating jobs and economic growth across the country – in both cities and rural areas. Nationally, outdoor recreation contributes roughly $778 billion in consumer spending and supports 5.2 million jobs. Moreover, economic analysis shows that every $1 million invested in LWCF could support between 16 and 30 jobs, while national park funding in GAOA could support 100,000 jobs, $17.5 billion in economic output, and contribute $9.6 billion to the US GDP. At a time when small businesses are struggling, GAOA would provide much needed stimulus to get Americans outdoors and back to work.

Passing the Great American Outdoors Act would be taking a page from President Theodore Roosevelt’s book: protecting the quintessence of who we are as Americans in the stewardship of our natural places, great and small. President Roosevelt set conservation as a priority - a duty - for a great and far-sighted nation in recognition that our natural bounty is the foundation for all else. Without it, we cannot prosper. I am glad to see strong bipartisan support for GAOA in the House, Senate, and from the President. We are counting on you to protect and preserve our public lands. And we need your continued leadership to secure this monumental legislation.

Sincerely, Theodore Roosevelt IV

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Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.