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Bill before the House

Our local bike shop, Joey’s Bikes, has sold more bikes this year than ever before. In major cities like Washington and Richmond, you can’t find a new bike to buy. Large box stores across the country are selling kayaks right off the truck as it pulls up, as people look to the outdoors to vacation in fresh air and have a local vacation to look forward to this year. This is the reality we are in as the country seeks to recover from COVID and few people are boarding an airplane.

On June 17, the Senate voted in favor of the giving our wild and wonderful public lands a real boost. Now, the bipartisan Act heads to the House for consideration. There has never been a better time to invest in our public lands and let’s remember that these Federal workers who care for and improve these lands are our neighbors, who pay taxes and promote the million acres of National Forest here that remains a tourism gem.

The Great American Outdoors Act is critically important for West Virginia and I am calling on Congressman Alex Mooney to put his support behind the legislation.

The Great American Outdoors Act ensures that the Land and Water Conservation Fund would receive full program funding each year without going through a drawn-out appropriations process which often leaves it underfunded. LWCF is designed to provide funding for recreation and conservation projects on local, state, and federal public lands.

These investments lead to job creation and bolstering of the outdoor recreation economy throughout West Virginia and an often-cited study by WVU has shown that tourism remains the single largest growth sector of our economy in the state.

Every time we enjoy fishing, hunting or riding on the public lands we can think about how the LWCF has made these better. To date, LWCF has provided over $241 million to support over 500 projects across the Mountain State. Randolph County alone has received over $200,000 for the development of recreational resources and improvements to our parks.

How could Mr. Mooney deny the opportunity to fully fund this kind of development on exiting public lands that benefit our kids and ourselves?

Carl Boylard

Elkins

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