What You Need to Know About the Great American Outdoors Act


| Jun 17, 2021

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What Is the Great American Outdoors Act?

The Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), signed in 2020 by former President Donald Trump, provides public parks with $9.5 billion towards maintenance over the span of five years. It covers five entities — the National Park Service (NPS), the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Indian Education.

All entities earn part of $1.9 billion in funding every fiscal year. Of the $1.9 billion, 70% goes to the NPS, 15% to the Forest Service and 5% each to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Indian Education.

The Great American Outdoors Act also entitles the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) — managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture — with $900 million annually permanently. Historically, U.S. Congress would shift money from the LWCF into other top-priority projects, but the GAOA prevents this monetary shifting. These funds enable the LWCF to operate more effectively, enhancing recreational activities, conserving timberlands and protecting watersheds.

Why Is the Great American Outdoors Act Important?

U.S. parks help stabilize the economy. The GAOA supplies funding to help diminish the maintenance backlog, generating more secure national economic output.

In recent years, America’s parks have seen an increase in national disasters and a record number of visitors. With an increase in destruction and natural wear and tear, parks need maintenance now more than ever. But they haven’t received the necessary funding, generating a maintenance backlog of almost $12 billion. The Forest Service alone sits at $5.9 billion, with required maintenance for:

  • Almost 400,000 miles of roads
  • Over 13,000 bridges
  • Almost 160,000 miles of trails
  • Around 1,700 dams and reservoirs
  • Around 1,500 communication sites
  • Over 30,000 recreation sites
  • Around 40,000 facilities

As a whole, the outdoor recreation industry generates $778 billion in national economic output and employs 5.2 million people. Park tourism generates $40 billion and supports 340,000 jobs, and the hunting and fishing industry contributes $200 billion and provides 1.3 million jobs. Although impressive, these numbers would begin to decrease as maintenance costs increase and funding decreases.

How Is the Great American Outdoors Act Being Used?

The funding from the Great American Outdoors Act enables parks to make the necessary upkeep. This maintenance includes revitalizing worn-out roads, trails, restrooms, campgrounds, picnic areas and other crucial infrastructure. As parks depend on tourism and outdoor recreation, having the proper funding for maintenance also maintains the high national economic output and job opportunities. The Pew Research Center predicts that, if the maintenance backlog is addressed, it will create or support almost 110,000 jobs.

Ways to Improve Your Park With the Great American Outdoors Act

With your extra funding, some ways you can improve your park include:

  • Trails: Well-kept trails attract hikers, bicyclists, horseback riders and other hobbyists to your park. A big part of your maintenance is making sure your trail is kept clear from debris, like fallen branches or overgrown greenery. You also want to think of ways you can encourage people to stay on your trail for longer periods. Consider installing seating areas that allow people to take occasional breaks or bike loop racks.
  • Picnic areas: Parks are popular destinations for picnickers. Attract more families by supplying picnic areas equipped with picnic benches, trash receptacles, hand sanitization stations and grills. Ensure you keep your picnic area clean to prevent deterring guests.
  • Campgrounds: Camping is one of America’s most popular recreational activities, attracting almost 42 million people a year. Maintain your campgrounds by keeping camping sites clean from waste and debris and equipping them with bonfire pits and trash receptacles. 
  • Recreation sites and other facilities: Other recreational sites and facilities include beaches, restrooms and information centers. Maintain these spaces by keeping them clean and ensuring they’re equipped with the necessary equipment, such as seating areas, trash receptacles, commercial umbrellas, ashtrays and shelters.

How Wabash Valley Site Furnishings Can Help You Upgrade and Maintain Your Park

Wabash Valley Furnishings has over 30 years of experience working with architecture, landscape architecture and design firms to create site amenities and furnishings for many industries, including parks and recreation. 

At Wabash Valley, we offer outdoor furniture that is:

  • Durable: With a record number of people visiting parks, you’re going to want park furnishings and amenities that are high-quality and durable. Before we offer anything to our clients, we put our products through rigorous testing and design them to prevent rust, rot, peeling, warping or cracking over time. 
  • Little maintenance: Right now, maintenance is at the forefront of many park manager’s minds. Our quality park furnishings and amenities are made to be easy to clean and can withstand the pressures of the elements. We design our furnishings to be long-lasting, saving you money on replacement costs.

We’ve also partnered with other brands for an all-in-one experience, including:

  • Soft Play®Recognized as a global leader in contained playground equipment, Soft Play provides parks with safe forms of play and innovative designs, helping children strengthen their developmental skills.
  • EZ Dock: Regular docks are prone to damage and require much maintenance. EZ Dock is a floating dock company that offers eco-friendly docks made to last, reducing maintenance and repair costs.
  • USA SHADE: Through decades of experience, USA SHADE has perfected the art of fabric structure design and technology. USA SHADE will engineer, manufacture, project-manage and construct every aspect of your fabric structure for your event or permanent use.

Browse Wabash Valley Site Furnishings and Amenities Online

The Great American Outdoors Act enables parks across the nation to upgrade and maintain their facilities. Without the proper maintenance, we would lose billions of dollars of national economic output, millions of jobs and many hours of fun. Now that you have the appropriate government funding for maintaining your park, consider upgrading your site furnishings and amenities with Wabash Valley.

We offer many different products, including:

Discover all of these products and more by visiting our product catalog online. Customize your order by choosing different colors, sizes, patterns, mounts and configurations, then add your product to your cart for a free estimated quote. Wabash Valley looks forward to helping you maintain and upgrade your park.