Club Chronicles: GFWC clubwomen engage in legislative alert action

The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a number of Americans to seek solace in the outdoors. This heightened awareness of the value of our parks and public lands has added to the urgency to fix their deterioration.

The General Federation of Women’s Club encourages clubwomen to become stewards of the earth. Through the GFWC Environment Community Service Program, clubwomen work to preserve the world’s resources, protect wildlife and domesticated animals, live sustainably, beautify communities and enjoy nature.

Federated clubs present programs, sponsor projects and support legislation that support the nation’s parks, public lands and the environment.

Recently through the GFWC Legislative Alert Call, clubwomen contacted their legislators encouraging support of the Great American Outdoors Act before Congress.

As an affiliate of the GFWC, Alabama clubwomen – including some of the Russellville Book Lovers Study Club members – worked with the LAC in the passage of H.R. 1957.

July 22 Congress enacted the Great American Outdoors Act as amended by the Senate and supported by clubwomen of GFWC. The passage of the bill provides $900 million annually to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which supports federal, state, local and tribal parks and recreation facilities.

The bill also provides billions of dollars to address the maintenance backlog at the nation’s parks and public lands.

Full and permanent funding will ensure support for local community parks and the recreation economy.

This Act has been called one of the most important environmental bills in history because it could nearly eliminate a $12 billion National Park Service maintenance backlog and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund for the first time since it was enacted in the 1960s.

Passage of The Great American Outdoors Act will help with the nation’s economic recovery and create new jobs and sustain existing employment in tourism and outdoor recreation.

The outdoor recreation industry – including the hiking, boating, camping equipment, outfitter, motorcyclist and sportsmen sectors – contributes $778 billion in national economic output each year and generates 5.2 million American jobs.

Also, park tourism generates $21 billion in direct spending on lodging, restaurants, gas, and similar costs, resulting in more than $40 billion in total economic output.

This supports more than 340,000 jobs each year.

Hunting and fishing industries in the U.S. are supported by 49 million sportsmen and sportswomen. These businesses employ 1.3 million Americans and contribute $200 billion to the national economy each year.

The American Outdoors Act will certainly have a significant impact on the economy as well as enhance the national, state and local parks.