Our national treasures increasingly need protecting

The Great American Outdoors Act will help address a 5-year backlog of needed upkeep and repairs to our national parks and buildings.

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Editorials

July 8, 2020 - 9:50 AM

U.S. Capitol building at sunset in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 17, 2019. Photo by (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)

Our public spaces have been put under extreme pressure in the last few months. Since the pandemic lockdown, people have headed for open spaces to revive their mental and physical health. More recently, public spaces across the city and the country have played a key role in protests and demonstrations, reminding us how important they are for democracy’s health, too.

In June, the Senate met this moment by passing the Great American Outdoors Act, providing critical funding for a popular environmental conservation program, and putting billions toward the upkeep of public lands. Expected to pass in the House, it is a rare feat of bipartisan cooperation in an uneasy moment.

Most Americans, hiker or hunter, support environmental conservation. Tourists flock to public lands, which protect nature and drive local economies. Independence Day is an occasion to think about American unity. This bill should remind us that we can still find points of agreement, and our leaders should work these patches of common ground.

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