The Great American Outdoors Letter to Senators

Subject: The Great American Outdoors (S.3422)

Dear [[Recipient’s Title and Name]]:

I hope this letter finds you and your office well and safe in these trying times in the shadow of a global pandemic. I am writing today, however, on another topic that is close to my heart and is of dire importance to our future generations of Americans. I am aware that the current events of COVID-19 and the CoronaVirus deserves our utmost attention. However, this causes me to fear that the Great American Outdoors Act may not receive the attention it deserves. On behalf of Hikers, Birdwatchers, Conservationists, Wildlife Enthusiasts, Hunters,  & Anglers in our great home state of Florida as well as across the country, I urge you to support the Great American Outdoors Act (S.3422), which was recently introduced by Sens. Manchin, Gardner, Warner, Daines and is currently sponsored by a total of 54 of your colleagues. S.3422 provides full and dedicated funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund and addresses the maintenance backlogs on our public lands and waters managed by numerous land management agencies.

Outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen across the country were relieved to see the LWCF permanently authorized as part of the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act, only to be let down as the ensuing federal budgets failed to provide the full $900 million allotted for the fund.

As I am sure you know, the LWCF has direct impact in 32 different preserves, national forests, refuges, and seashores across our state from Key West to the Panhandle. Funding LWCF and the maintenance backlogs of our public land management agencies are not partisan issues, and public access is a priority that hunters and anglers of every creed and political persuasion can rally behind. Access to public lands and waters is a cornerstone of our country’s $887 billion outdoor recreation economy, and restoring our public estate and LWCF are effective tools to accomplish new projects and protect existing access points.

This legislation marks the culmination of decades of advocacy and work by conservation champions on both sides of the aisle. Accordingly, I also ask that you work to prevent any amendments that would reduce bipartisan support for the bill or sink its chances of being signed by the president.

This coordinated effort by senators on both sides of the aisle confirms that conservation and access are inherently bipartisan values. I appreciate your work on behalf of our public lands and waters and urge you to support the Great American Outdoors Act and help advance it to the president’s desk.

Sincerely and God Bless,

Bert Rico

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