ALEXANDRIA, VA – On the morning of June 22, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) spoke before a small crowd of journalists and environmental groups at Belle Haven Park. He announced that the Great American Outdoors Act had passed in the U.S. Senate. Approved by a 73-25 vote, the bill is headed to the U.S. House of Representatives.
The act has two aims. It will address the $1.1 billion in maintenance needs for Virginia’s national parks and permanently provide funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
Warner praised the work of his fellow senators, saying he is hopeful that President Trump will sign the bill around July 4.
“I can’t think of a better birthday present for America,” he said.
For Warner, the genesis of the bill began four years ago. He often enjoys the parks and took notice of the deferred maintenance – sink holes on trails and overgrown brush, for example. He felt action should be taken to restore the beauty of these places.
The senator headed the bipartisan Restore Our Parks Act while meeting with the LWCF to formulate a plan that covers all areas of nature conservation. Their combined effort led to the Great American Outdoors Act, which includes Warner’s Restore Our Parks Act.
With the signing of the Great American Outdoors Act, over 10,000 jobs will be created.
To close his remarks, Warner echoed the words of a few LWCF representatives in attendance by saying “We need to take those moments of stillness and [quiet and] recognize a part of our history, a part of our heritage, a part of who we are as Americans. We need to value it, preserve it, maintain it, and make sure that we pass it on to our kids and grandkids.”