Bennet Announces USDA Investment to Improve National Forest, Grassland Infrastructure

Funding from Bennet-championed Great American Outdoors Act Will Benefit More than 50 Maintenance, Recreation Projects in Colorado

Washington, D.C. — Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will invest $285 million to help the U.S. Forest Service address critical deferred maintenance and improve transportation and recreation infrastructure on national forests and grasslands. More than 50 projects in Colorado will benefit from this funding.

 

This investment was made possible by the newly established National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund created under the Great American Outdoors Act, Bennet’s legislation that was signed into law last year to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and reduce the public lands maintenance backlog.

 

From modernizing campground to improving roads and enhancing trails, this investment will provide a much-needed boost to Colorado’s outdoor economy,” said Bennet. “This initial funding from the Great American Outdoors Act will be put to good use in Colorado, and I’m grateful Secretary Vilsack and USDA are committed to maintaining America’s public land infrastructure well into the future.”

 

“Our forests and grasslands are one of our nation’s greatest treasures and one of the most effective natural carbon captures that exist to help combat the effects of climate change,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Millions of people each year enjoy forests and grasslands, and these investments will promote public-private partnerships, tourism and recreation, protect public lands, and ensure our national forests are accessible to all. These investments will also serve as a catalyst for rural economic development and employment opportunities.”

 

This investment will allow the Forest Service to implement more than 500 infrastructure improvement projects essential to the continued use and enjoyment of national forests and grasslands. Project investments in 2021 will improve recreation facilities, visitor centers, dams and trails. Other projects aim to increase public access by restoring and repairing roads, trails, bridges, tunnels and parking areas.

 

In addition to leading efforts on the Great American Outdoors Act, Bennet has advocated for robust funding for federal land management agencies for years. In 2018 and 2019, Bennet cosponsored the Restore Our Parks Act to address the maintenance backlog at the National Park Service. In 2017, Bennet sent a letter to former Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke that included proposals to address the national park maintenance backlog in Colorado.

 

The Great American Outdoors Act authorizes funding under the Legacy Restoration Fund annually through fiscal year 2025.

More information about the projects is available HERE.