Senate Passes Great American Outdoors Act

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ORR Applauds Senate’s Bipartisan Effort

Today, the Senate passed the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) by a bipartisan vote of 73-25. ORR members were at the forefront of this landmark legislation, leading the effort to include maintenance backlog funding for the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; bringing together more than 100 outdoor recreation businesses in support of GAOA; garnering Senate support and much more. We thank all of our members for their tireless work to pass this legislation.

“The Great American Outdoors Act is the single greatest piece of conservation and outdoor recreation legislation before Congress in decades,” said Jessica Turner, executive director of Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. “Its overwhelmingly bipartisan passage in the Senate is proof that the outdoors crosses party lines and resonates with all Americans. We applaud Senate Republicans and Democrats for working together tirelessly to get this done. The entire outdoor recreation industry thanks every Senator who supported this bill and urges the House to move quickly to pass this measure so we can finally fully fund LWCF and begin the much-needed work on rebuilding infrastructure on our public lands and waters.”

“As the country takes steps toward economic recovery from COVID-19, federal investment in our public lands and waterways are critical to boost local economies, create thousands of jobs and protect and improve our national parks,” said Lise Aangeenbrug, executive director of the Outdoor. Industry Association. “These investments would also increase community access to nearby parks and trails, helping address gaps between where people live and nearby opportunities. In turn, more Americans will benefit from the health and well-being that parks and trails provide.”

“Public lands are incredibly important for providing recreational fishing opportunities throughout the country,” said Glenn Hughes, president of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA). “The Great American Outdoors Act is particularly timely. As the sportfishing industry, along with the country as a whole, continues to recover from the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are grateful to the Senate for helping the long-term recovery of our industry by passing the Great American Outdoors Act, and we call on the House of Representatives to swiftly pass it as well.”

“Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and increased uncertainty as the country continues the process of reopening, it is encouraging to see our nation’s policymakers coming together and prioritizing legislation that ensures both local economies and families can reap the benefits of outdoor recreation activities like boating and fishing,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “Thanks to this overwhelmingly bipartisan effort, the Great American Outdoors Act is one step closer to protecting and expanding outdoor recreation opportunities across the country and we call on the U.S. House of Representatives to swiftly consider and pass this critical measure.”

“The powersports industry, including motorcycle, dirt bike, ATV, and side-by-side enthusiasts appreciate the Senate’s bipartisan support in passing the Great American Outdoors Act,” said Erik Pritchard, president and CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Council, Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association, and the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America. “GAOA will boost recreation opportunities and the economy by helping powersports dealerships across the country, as well as thousands of manufacturing employees in states like Georgia, Iowa, Nebraska, Michigan, and Minnesota for our member companies. I look forward to swift approval of the bill by the House of Representatives in the coming weeks.”

“For literally millions of small businesses located in gateway communities near national parks and forests, including private RV parks and campgrounds, the passage of this historic legislation will increase opportunities for people to recreate outdoors and support all businesses that make up the outdoor recreation industry,” said Paul Bambei, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC). “The Great American Outdoors Act passed today in the Senate is a historic moment for our nation. ARVC would like to thank the Senators who have supported not only our nation’s most beautiful outdoor spaces but the businesses that rely on those destinations for a large part of their success.”

“As national parks and forests across the country look to safely reopen, it’s encouraging to see the overwhelming support of Senators recognizing the need to direct significant funds toward critical deferred maintenance and campground modernization needs on our public lands and waters,” said Craig Kirby, president of the RV Industry Association. “We are grateful to the Senators who voted today to pass the Great American Outdoors Act and address these issues through this landmark legislation that supports outdoor recreation and conservation in our most treasured lands for generations to come.”

Statements from Outdoor Recreation Business Leaders

“Hunting and fishing are incredibly important to Missouri’s heritage and way of life,” said Johnny Morris, noted conservationist and founder of Bass Pro Shops. “In order to pass these traditions down to our children and grandchildren, we need sound conservation policies like those in the Great American Outdoors Act. We at Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, and Tracker Boats are grateful to Senator Blunt for supporting this incredibly important legislation, which will help conserve and maintain the nation’s public lands for the benefit of current and future generations.”

“As more Americans look to RVs as a way to still get out and see our nation’s majestic public lands while also adhering to social distancing, it is more important than ever for Congress to address the mounting deferred maintenance on these lands through the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act,” said Kevin McArt, general manager of Forest River Inc. “We applaud the 73 Senators who voted for the bill, particularly Senator Todd Young of Indiana who understand the importance of this legislation to create safe and enjoyable experiences for the 20 million RVers across the country.”

“As a Montana-based company with a mission to connect people to the outdoors and each other, we at Kampgrounds of America, Inc. recognize the need for investment in our public lands and waters and stand in support of the Great American Outdoors Act. We applaud the efforts of Senator Daines and Senator Tester in working to advance this landmark legislation which will support the outdoor recreation economy and make the outdoors more accessible,” said Toby O’Rourke, president and CEO of Kampgrounds of America, Inc. “Our campgrounds in Montana and across the country serve millions of camping guests who embrace the benefits of being outside. Further, we know from our research that people are prioritizing the outdoors more than ever as the nation emerges from months of stay at home orders, and we believe that outdoor recreation can play a vital role in our nation’s recovery both from a health and economic standpoint. Passage of the Great American Outdoors Act will help enable that recovery through ensuring necessary improvements are made to outdoor recreation infrastructure, vital jobs are created and that America’s outdoor spaces can be enjoyed for years to come.”   

“Our company and our 3,400 team members across the country are grateful for the Senate passing the Great American Outdoors Act,” Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. said in a statement. “Outdoor recreation brings family and friends together to enjoy our country’s amazing lands while also making a significant contribution to the nation’s economic activity. Kawasaki, as the first foreign vehicle manufacturer to open a manufacturing plant in the U.S.A. in 1974 in Lincoln, Nebraska, is committed to offering products that allow for quality outdoor experiences on land and water. Thanks to the support of the Senate, the GAOA will help ensure these recreational opportunities continue to bring people together to let the good times roll.”

“At Polaris Inc., we are passionate about the outdoors and we applaud the bipartisan support for the Great American Outdoors Act, which promotes conservation and outdoor recreation. #ThinkOutside,” said Scott W. Wine, chairman & CEO of Polaris Inc.

“The preservation of public lands and waters is essential to our industry, our economy, and our well-being,” said Kerry Graeber, Suzuki Motor of America, Inc.’s vice president of Motorcycle Sales and Marketing. “We would like to thank Senators for passing the Great American Outdoors Act during this critical time and for safeguarding the infrastructure of public lands and waters for generations to come.” Suzuki is the sole distributor of Suzuki-brand motorcycles, ATVs, and marine outboard motors in the continental United States. Suzuki-brand ATVs are assembled in northwest Georgia for both the United States and world markets.

“RVers across the country depend on our iconic federal lands for recreation, conservation, enjoyment, and overnight camping. Thanks to the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act by the Senate, we are one step closer to improving the experience of RVers by addressing deferred maintenance needs and campground modernization across federal lands and waters,” said Bob Martin, president and CEO of Thor Industries. “This legislation is critical not only to the RV industry and the significant number of new consumers looking to RVs as a way to travel this summer, but also to the wider outdoor recreation economy. We are grateful for the bipartisan support of this bill and ask that the House quickly follows suit by passing the bill.”

“Today’s passage of the Great American Outdoors Act by the Senate is an important win for not only the RV industry but the greater $778 billion outdoor recreation economy. This legislation will ensure safe and enjoyable experiences for the millions of RVers across the country by addressing the deferred maintenance backlog on public lands and waters,” said Mike Happe, president and CEO of Winnebago Industries. “We are particularly grateful to Senators Joni Ernst, Chuck Grassley, and Todd Young for their dedication to the RV industry and the people of Iowa and Indiana. Enactment of this milestone legislation will mean increased recreation access for all Americans no matter where they live.”

“In the wake of this economic crisis, supporting conservation and the local economies in Georgia and beyond is more important now than ever before,” said Ben Speciale, president of Yamaha’s U.S. Marine Business Unit. “That’s exactly what the Great American Outdoors Act accomplishes, and we applaud the U.S. Senate for coming together on this important legislation.”