by Sally Jewell and Ken Salazar
Among mountain trails and city parks in our home states of Colorado and Washington, we have gratefully found refuge in nature amid this global pandemic. Never has fresh air tasted so good as now, when it provides escape from a virus that is at its deadliest indoors.
That may be one reason why Congress shed its partisan colors to pass a bill that will invest nearly a billion dollars a year to create new local, state and national parks and natural areas where families can safely get outside together.
The bill, called the Great American Outdoors Act, will also finally fix up thousands of run-down roads, trails and visitor facilities that are being loved to death through heavy and growing use of our public lands.
Learning from the success of the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression, Congress can expand the nation’s existing network of youth and service programs – such as the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, Americorps and the Student Conservation Association – to put people to work, provide a healthy dose of nature, and a boost our economy when we need it most.