DOI Kicks Off Great Outdoors Month with $279 Million To Support ‘Outdoor Recreation and Conservation Projects’ in Each State

by Jon D. B.

This Great Outdoors Month, all states and territories will receive portions of the $279 Million from the Department of Interior’s Land and Water Conservation Fund, announces the National Park Service.

July 1st rings in Great Outdoors Month in the US, and the Department of the Interior (DOI) is announcing the distribution of $279 million to all 50 states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. Their purpose? State-identified outdoor recreation and conservation projects across America.

The sorely-needed funds come from the DOI’s Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Each state will receive a different allocation of the funds. In Tennessee where Outsider is based, for example, our state will receive $5,128,022 of the total. Texas and California will receive the largest sums with $16,369,794 and $23,646,441 respectively.

According to NPS’ press release, the allocation for each state and territory is determined by a population-based apportionment formula. This is set within the LWCF Act. Then, states and territories further allocate these funds to local projects, usually through a competitive process.

In the end, these investments help support the Biden-Harris administration’s America the Beautiful initiative. This support of locally led outdoor recreation and conservation projects “protects and enhance our nation’s public lands and waters,” NPS cites. It’s also a fantastic beginning to Great Outdoors Month.

‘One of the best investments we can make is in stewarding the lands and waters that sustain us and the generations to come’

“One of the best investments we can make is in stewarding the lands and waters that sustain us and the generations to come,” offers Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland on Wednesday. “Today we are making critical investments that will help expand access to the outdoors for communities across the country. All while creating jobs and safeguarding the environment from the effects of climate change,” Haaland continues.

Cyclists take advantage of a misty vehicle-free morning in Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo credit: GRSM, NPS media release.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is an “integral part of advancing President Biden’s conservation vision,” the Secretary of the Interior adds. Her dept. “recognizes the need to address the nature and climate crises, improve equitable access to the outdoors, and strengthen the economy.”

LWCF Adds to $5.1 Billion Funding History for Great Outdoors Month 2022 ‘At No Cost to Taxpayers’

Moreover, this money comes at no cost to taxpayers, NPS clarifies. The LWCF has funded $5.1 billion to support 45,000 projects in every county in the country since its inception in 1965.

In addition, LWCF supports increased public access to and protection for federal public lands and waters. This includes national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and recreation areas. The funding also provides matching grants to state governments for the acquisition and development of public parks. Other outdoor recreation sites benefit, too.

“Access to outdoor recreation also helps strengthen and enrich communities,” adds National Park Service Director Chuck Sams. “The Land and Water Conservation Fund helps enable state and local governments to upgrade parks and recreation areas in communities.”

Director Sams is also eager to see the funds “create new outdoor spaces to ensure everyone has access to recreation opportunities close to home.”