One year ago today, the US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in support of the Great American Outdoors Act, marking our country’s biggest conservation funding victory in decades. The bill became law a few weeks later, permanently providing dedicated funding for the Land & Water Conservation Fund, which helps communities across the continent protect and improve access to public outdoor spaces large and small.
As we look back at that major bipartisan victory, we’re looking forward to finally celebrating together – in person! Outside! – with many of our partners in the national Land & Water Conservation Fund Coalition, and with our collaborators on a Washington state project close to our hearts: protecting the Taneum watershed.
The Taneum project seeks to permanently protect 12,000 acres of irreplaceable Central Cascades forestland near the headwaters of the Yakima River. An exemplary large-scale LWCF project, reconnecting the “checkerboarded” parcels in this watershed will protect drinking water for the Yakima Valley and preserve critical fish and wildlife habitat while expanding recreation access for the area – popular with hikers, horseback riders, anglers and many others. By transferring these privately owned parcels in to public ownership, we’ll increase management efficiencies and facilitate forest-health treatments to help protect communities from catastrophic wildfire and other climate-change impacts.
The Taneum project wouldn’t be possible without the Great American Outdoors Act, and we’re working hard to secure the substantial LWCF funding needed for this transfer. Meanwhile, we’re also taking time to celebrate the special places across Washington prote