How the Great American Outdoors Act Improved Public Lands

The 2020 federal law has helped fund park maintenance projects and improve access to public lands.

1 minute read

February 15, 2024, 7:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Stone hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah at golden hour.

Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. | Gary Saxe / Adobe Stock

An article by Susan Shain in High Country News assesses the impact of the 2020 Great American Outdoors Act, a federal law that purported to be the “single largest investment in public lands in U.S. history.”

According to Shain, the two-part law aims to improve access to public lands for recreation and other purposes and funds the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund, which supports maintenance and repairs of national parks infrastructure.

According to Myke Bybee of the Trust for Public Land, the law is working.   “Since 2021, the Legacy Restoration Fund has funded a slew of delayed maintenance projects, both large and small — rehabilitating the Hurricane Ridge day lodge at Olympic National Park ($7 million); replacing a wastewater plant at Grand Canyon National Park ($40.5 million); and rebuilding roads, bridges and water treatment plants at Yellowstone National Park ($317.7 million), among many others.” These initiatives have created roughly 17,000 jobs, according to the Department of the Interior. “In the future, Bybee hopes to see more funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund — the $900 million annual allocation has been the same since 1964, when land was much cheaper — as well as permanent funding for the Legacy Restoration Fund.”

Tuesday, February 13, 2024 in High Country News

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