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Great American Outdoors flourish under new law

Posted at 4:30 AM, Sep 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-24 04:34:57-04

Almost a billion dollars each year are headed to parks across the nation after President Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act in July.

The money will preserve our national treasures by directing money to park maintenance and infrastructure while fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund each year.

After years of fighting for this money, Amy Lindholm and John Judge with the Appalachian Mountain Club say Michigan will be getting a generous piece of the pie. “The money comes from royalties that are paid by oil and gas companies that develop energy resources offshore,” Lindholm said.

Places like Sleeping Bear Dunes, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, even state and local parks are getting money to help with upgrades and projects.

One of the biggest undertakings is the completion and protection of the North Country Scenic Trail. “It's like 4600 miles, and like Appalachian Trail, is one of the longest long-distance trails in the country,” said Lindholm. She noted the entire trail corridor is not protect, the LWCF is helping keep development from coming too close to trails, preserving the trail experience.

Furthermore, the bipartisan law will be an economic boost by creating an additional 100,000 direct and indirect jobs. Lindholm says it will also drive tourism to help local communities surrounding local and national parks.

If you're interested in learning more about conservation in your area, Lindholm says to reach out to your local land trust to identify places that need to be protected.