Boone Area Chamber of Commerce Applauds North Carolina’s Congressional Members for Supporting the Great American Outdoors Act

Published Thursday, July 23, 2020 at 10:48 am

The bipartisan legislation will help restore deteriorating parks

and public lands nationwide. 

The U.S. House of Representatives logged a historic vote on Wednesday when it approved the Great American Outdoors Act, a bill that will invest in priority repairs at National Park Service (NPS) sites in North Carolina and across the country. From the Blue Ridge Parkway to Cape Hatteras National Seashore, needed repairs in North Carolina’s NPS sites total $543 million, just part of the multi-billion maintenance backlog threatening park resources and local economies.   

The Senate passed the legislation by an overwhelming bipartisan vote in June. The bill will also address repairs on other public lands and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, an important tool that preserves access to public lands and provides resources to urban and rural communities for recreation facilities. 

“The Blue Ridge Parkway is a vital economic engine within our region,” said David Jackson, President/CEO of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce. “Millions of visitors annually travel the Parkway, and visit other National Parks throughout our region and State, and making necessary repairs to ensure people can safely access these local landmarks will keep people coming back to our area. These restorative projects also can provide jobs to local workers needed to help clear the mounting maintenance backlog. Thank you to North Carolina’s congressional delegation for helping pass this bipartisan legislation that will fix critical park infrastructure and strengthen our tourism economy when we need it most.” 

This legislation is one of the most significant investments in almost 65 years for national parks and public lands.  Equally important, these projects will stabilize a major piece of Northwest North Carolina’s tourism draw, while providing jobs in the area to make the necessary repairs. According to the National Park Service, in 2019 alone, visitors to North Carolina’s national parks spent $1.4 billion in local economies.   

Park tourism contributes over $41.7 billion to the national economy annually and supports over 340,000 jobs. This legislation has the backing of more than 900 organizations including local towns and cities, the recreation industry, veteran’s groups, hotel and lodging, infrastructure associations, preservation groups, hunters and anglers, conservation organizations, and local businesses.  

If you have questions, please contact the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce at 828-264-2225 or email [email protected].

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