On Tuesday August 4th, the Great American Outdoors Act was signed into law and for the first time the Land and Water Conservation Fund will be permanently and fully funded. That means $900 million a year for conservation and public lands. This bi partisan effort is the biggest win for public lands in a generation.
MTB Atlanta President Brett Davidson went to Capital Hill last Fall with the LWCF Coalition on behalf of mountain bikers and visited with the members of the Georgia Congressional delegation and asked them to support this legislation and vote yes. Needless to say the Board of MTB Atlanta is stoked!
What does this mean for Georgia and Metro Atlanta? It means much needed funding for maintenance and new trail construction. Trails on public lands have been chronically underfunded and it has been up to non profits like MTB Atlanta to raise funding for trail projects on public lands. Grants and funding have been anemic at best and very competitive. Now we will have a bigger pot to draw from.
As this legislation was working it’s way through Congress, Todd Keller IMBA’s Director of Government Affairs and Southern Off Road Bicycle Association’s Executive Director Tom Sauret asked us for shovel ready projects where funds from the Act could be directed in the next year. We will be advocating for these shovel ready projects: 17-20 miles of new trail at Chattahoochee Bend State Park, 5 new miles at South Rockdale Community Park (Phase Two), Sope Creek Redevelopment and Restoration, and 10 new miles at Moore’s Bridge Park (Phase Two).
In a year full of trouble and uncertainty, and at a time when more people are flocking to our sport and to our over taxed trail systems on public lands, this is some monumental good news. As mountain bikers and stewards of public land, we should be very proud of the advocacy work it took to get the Great American Outdoors Act passed into law.