U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-4, announced Wednesday the House of Representatives passed the Great American Outdoors Act by a vote of 310-107. This act fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and establishes the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund.

“Southwest Connecticut is a place of great natural beauty,” Himes said in a statement. “Our identity and economy are tied to the land, especially the Sound, and we have an obligation to conserve and improve the spaces around us.”

The $900 million dedicated to the conservation fund support the $887-billion outdoor recreation industry, one of the fastest-growing sectors of the economy, and protects natural areas from development.

In the past, the fund has provided money to help Connecticut acquire or expand treasures like Sherwood Island, Weir Farm, Carwin Park, Oyster Shell Park, the Stamford Nature Center, Johnson Oak Park, Jennings Beach, and many other outdoor recreation spaces.

The Great American Outdoors Act will also provide funding for the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Indian Education to begin to address a significant maintenance backlog and preserve the parks for future generations.

“This renewed, dedicated funding from LWCF will lead to opportunities for us to acquire and protect more public land for Connecticut families to enjoy,” Himes said. “I’ll work with the state to bring these federal dollars home. We’re also optimistic that we’ll be able to secure maintenance funds for National Park-related areas in Connecticut like Weir Farm.”