Appalachian Trail Conservancy

The Great American Outdoors Act passed by Congress that President Trump has pledged to sign is slated to benefit national parks in the region and create jobs statewide.

Approved by the Senate in June and the House of Representatives last week, the act would pump about $3 billion into conservation projects, outdoor recreation and maintenance of national parks. In Virginia, it’s estimated that it will create or help support more than 10,000 jobs.

The funds would address a backlog of deferred maintenance costs at National Park Service sites, but allocations haven’t been determined. Virginia’s national parks have more than $1.1 billion in deferred maintenance. National parks in the state’s 10th Congressional District, which stretches from Frederick County east through Loudoun and into McLean, have $337,178,843 in deferred maintenance, including $823,242 at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park in Middletown. Accounting for most of the deferred maintenance in the 10th District are nearly $294 million for the George Washington Memorial Parkway, $34.2 million for Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts and $8.2 million for Manassas National Battlefield Park.

Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.-10th), who helped pass the bill in the House, touted it as one of the most significant investments in environmental conservation in a generation. She said in a news release that it will help address longstanding infrastructure needs such as roads, bridges and trails.

The bill fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million annually and creates the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund, which will provide funding to the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Education for maintenance expenses over the next five years. The funding is tied to royalties derived from energy extraction on public lands and waters.

The legislation drew praise from several conservation organizations, including the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, which has a presence in Loudoun.

Sandra Marra, president and CEO of the ATC, said the legislation will enhance the safety and accessibility of public lands like the Appalachian Trail and “ensure the legacy of outdoor spaces and experiences passes on to the next generation.”

(15) comments

Chad Davis

Anything to keep at least some land from developers.


I don't think this bill will address that problem. It is for funding to maintain the current park land. I agree with you that we need to safeguard more areas from developers. Unfortunately it doesn't seem that is a priority for the state or the counties at this point.


But there are people interested; Jun 09 2020, Mark R. Warner (D-VA), spoke on the Senate floor about the Great American Outdoors Act, a bill championed by Sen. Warner that would permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and address the $12 billion maintenance backlog at National Park Service (NPS) sites across the country. The bipartisan legislation includes Sen. Warner’s Restore Our Parks Act, which would help tackle the $1.1 billion in deferred maintenance at Virginia’s parks and create up to 10,340 jobs in the Commonwealth alone. Yesterday, the bill cleared a key procedural hurdle– known as a “cloture vote on the motion to proceed” – by a vote of 80-17, It passed. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) and U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA) are working with the National Park Service (NPS) on the Northern Neck National Heritage Area Feasibility Study. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) and Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA), are also working with them to have George C. Marshall House in Leesburg, known as Dodona Manor, as an “affiliated area” under NPS, which would help protect the property. Wexton is also placing pressure, in coordination with the Virginia House delegation, on the U.S. Department of the Interior to be continuously attentive to Virginia’s coastline needs.


Those are good efforts, but we need our BoS to re-examine the comprehensive development plan and slow down growth in the county. I would hate to see our green spaces demolished and yes we need more parks, not just athletic fields.


LetSanityPrevail--What "comprehensive development plan" does the Board of Supervisors have for this county? The one that they have been working off since around 1980 placing about 98% of the development in Eastern Loudoun? It is now a day late and a dollar short to try to slow down growth in this county. It is a classic illustration of a FAILURE in the proper zoning and development management.




AG--thanks, I am very much aware that there is an official document that is "comprehensive development plan" that the Board of Supervisors "uses" for this county. However, the point is that they have failed to properly regulate zoning in this county since around 1980 and placed about 98% of the development in Eastern Loudoun. It is a day late and a dollar short to try to "slow" growth now. It is a classic illustration of a FAILURE in the proper zoning and development management.


We have a favorite side trail in Shenandoah that had a bridge washed out a few years ago with no repairs since. Maybe this will help the park get that fixed. There is a special burger that you earn upon completion of the trail and it's just been too long...

Nice to have good news.


Wexton and Trump need a picture together.


Thank you President Trump for taking care of our national parks.....great news!


And thank you Congresswoman Wexton as well. Nice to see people working together


HaHaHa like trump had anything to do with it. He would have sold off mot of the areas so they could be mined or drilled r something


If you can't play golf on it, it doesn't exist for dear leader. Right now we have the equivalent of 4 jetliners crashing every day and killing everyone on board. Trump says he's working on a strategy to combat the virus. I don't understand his sense of urgency at this point ...

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I'm for the truth, you are a follower.


Trump also vastly reduced millions of acres of public land in the west for mineral and oil exploration so Trump is no friend of the outdoors.

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