The Great Conservationist President, Theodore Roosevelt (third from left)
Today, politicians on all sides came together to pass the largest boost to national conservation efforts in 50 years. The Great American Outdoors Act was described by senior officials as the "single largest investment in America’s national parks and public lands in United States history.”
This act helps repair crumbling infrastructure through our national parks, monuments, and forests including hundreds of buildings and thousands of miles of roads and hiking trails. It also serves to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)—great news for conservationists.
Not since President Theodore Roosevelt has there been such a significant investment in conservation. The Act establishes 100 years of funding for the protection of national and public lands.
What’s really amazing is that in a time when Congress has become infamous for getting nothing done, the bill had strong support from both Republicans and Democrats.
This bill remedies a long-standing debt of delinquent funding owed to the National Park Service amounting to some $11.9 billion in “deferred maintenance” and “needed repairs.” Not only is the bill good for our public land and water resources, it is estimated to create 100,000 new jobs.
The bill compliments a 2018 executive order promoting active management of American forests, rangelands and other federal lands.
President Teddy Roosevelt, the Conservationist President, would be proud. After taking office in 1901, he created the United States Forest Service (USFS) to protect our public land and water resources as well as wildlife sustained thereon.
He further set up 150 national forests, 51 federal bird reserves, 4 national game preserves, 5 national parks, and 18 national monuments through the 1906 American Antiquities Act. Altogether, his efforts protected some 230 million acres of public land.
Roosevelt saw Nature as something to protect and cherish:
“It is also vandalism wantonly to destroy or to permit the destruction of what is beautiful in nature, whether it be a cliff, a forest, or a species of mammal or bird. Here in the United States we turn our rivers and streams into sewers and dumping-grounds, we pollute the air, we destroy forests, and exterminate fishes, birds and mammals -- not to speak of vulgarizing charming landscapes with hideous advertisements. But at last it looks as if our people were awakening.”
America’s most cherished National Parks can seem far removed from Dallas backyards. Yet every single plot of land is connected through the earth. Your own backyard, however humble, provides a private contact point to Mother Nature and by extension to astonishing grandeur. That’s an important reason to have and to use a backyard. Take your shoes off and listen to Mother Earth.
Not every country has backyards at all. But it’s a solid part of the American way.
- Learn more about our conservation work.
- Conservation efforts directly affect Dallas water quality.
- Learn more about a conservation career with Sgt. Poopers