In the News

Conservation groups praise bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act

Originally Published by The Reading Eagle
Written By Lisa Scheid

Conservation groups gathered in Reading on Friday to recognize U.S. Reps. Chrissy Houlahan and Dan Meuser for their conservation leadership and support of the Great American Outdoors Act, which was signed into law in August by President Donald Trump. 

Houlahan is a Chester County Democrat, who represents Reading and many southern communities in Berks County. Meuser is a Luzerne County Republican, who represents a sprawling seven-county district that includes most of northern and eastern Berks.

The act will fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and invest in critical repair needs within national parks and other public lands. The event, hosted by the Appalachian Mountain Club with Berks Nature at The Nature Place near Alvernia University in Reading, was a celebratory roundtable discussion.

The attendees discussed the decadeslong campaign to get money into the fund and the future of environmental conservation in Pennsylvania, according to a news release.

“Nearly 40 iconic projects have been funded through the Land and Water Conservation Act in Berks County alone, including the very park we are in today, City of Reading owned Angelica Creek Park," said Kim Murphy, president of Berks Nature, in a news release. "Projects and acquisition of important landscapes in our communities like French Creek State Park, county parks like Red Bridge, Stonecliffe and the Heritage Center; municipal parks like Kutztown Borough Park, a community swimming pool in Hamburg, and Spring Township’s Cacoosing Meadows were acquired with LWC Act funding. These conservation and recreation areas make up the scenic views and community gathering spaces that are essential to our quality of life in Berks County. Making this funding permanent will insure that our citizens will have the ability to protect nature and invest in outdoor recreation for years to come.”

John Judge, president and CEO of Appalachian Mountain Club, said that now, perhaps more than ever, Americans are showing how essential it is to be able to access public land and water for both physical and mental health.

"AMC applauds the bipartisan support for the Great American Outdoors Act with Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle who have made this victory possible to permanently and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and address the backlog of maintenance on our public lands," Judge said.