Since the beginning of the 112th Congress, there has been a wave of legislation seeking to systematically dismantle the laws that protect America’s wilderness and public lands. Nearly 50 years after the landmark 1964 Wilderness Act, we are witnessing a giveaway of our great outdoors to polluters and irresponsible developers, one that threatens the fabric of wild places and the clean air, clean water and economic support that they provide to surrounding communities.
These wild places are a great source of economic activity, especially in the rural communities that surround them. Outdoor recreation, natural resource conservation, and historic preservation activities contribute more than $1 trillion annually to the economy, support 9.4 million jobs and generate over $100 billion in federal, state and local taxes. Now is not the time to hurt the places that need economic support the most.