Secretary of the Interior visits Yellowstone last week

(Mammoth Hot Springs, WY) ⁠— Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland wrapped her weeklong trip out West today in Yellowstone National Park. The swing featured stops in Washington state, California, and Wyoming where she highlighted the Biden-Harris administration’s historic investments in America’s infrastructure, the clean energy economy, and conservation efforts, consistent with the America the Beautiful initiative. 

During her visit at Yellowstone National Park, Secretary Haaland highlighted how the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) is making significant investments in park infrastructure, creating jobs, and supporting local economies. GAOA furthers the goals of President Biden’s America the Beautiful initiative to support locally led efforts to conserve, restore, and protect lands and waters across the nation to help address the climate and biodiversity crises, increase equitable access to the great outdoors, and strengthen the economy. 

“Nature is essential to the health, well-being, and prosperity of every family and community in America. As we experience record visitation at parks and public lands across the country, now is the time to make the investments in our lands and waters that are long overdue,” said Secretary Haaland. “The Great American Outdoors Act is bipartisanship at its best, and it is through federal investments and state, Tribal, and local partnerships that we can be stewards of these lands for generations to come.”

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In Yellowstone, Secretary Haaland met with young people conducting conservation projects within the park through Groundwork USA. She also met with park leadership and staff to better understand how they are navigating the impact of record visitation levels expected in 2021.  

The Secretary’s visit comes on the heels of the Senate’s passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the most significant long-term investment in the United States’ infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century. In addition to historic funding to repair and rebuild the nation’s roads and bridges, the legislation would support the development of a network of electric vehicle chargers along highways and in rural communities and electrify thousands of buses across the country.

The Act, if passed, would complement the significant investments in national park infrastructure that have been made through GAOA funding. In 2021, Interior is investing more than $1.6 billion in GAOA funding to address critical deferred maintenance projects and improve transportation and recreation infrastructure on public lands and Bureau of Indian Education schools. 

In Yellowstone alone, the park is investing $121.5 million from the Act’s Legacy Restoration Fund to rehabilitate 22 miles of the Grand Loop Road between Old Faithful and West Thumb, replace the Lewis River Bridge, rehabilitate and reconfigure a historic dormitory at Old Faithful, and complete historic building restoration at Fort Yellowstone. The GAOA investments in the park’s infrastructure in 2021 alone are expected to support nearly 1,600 jobs and contribute $333.9 million to the nation’s economy.   

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