WASHINGTON- Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado is behind The Great American Outdoors Act, a bill aimed at speeding up needed maintenance in national parks, and providing permanent funding for the Land, Water, and Conservation fund.

The bill would provide about $2 billion per year for 5 years to address needed maintenance in national parks and monuments across the country.

The legislation is funded by revenues generated by offshore oil and natural gas drilling. Gardner says redirecting these funds to preserve resources in public lands is appropriate due to the strain offshore drilling puts on fossil fuel resources.

The bill is headed to a senate vote this upcoming week.

On Monday, June 8, Gardner urged fellow U.S. senators on the senate floor to pass his bipartisan bill co- sponsored by democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia. The senate voted 80-17 Monday to begin debating this legislation, which Gardner says could make a huge difference in national parks everywhere.

Gardner explained to KREX 5/Fox 4 from his Washington office why this bill is needed now.

“It’s a great chance for us to work on the land and conservation fund and to address the maintenance backlog at our national parks,” Gardner said. “Like Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.”

Gardner also says this could make a difference for local economies near these lands, as it would create jobs around trail maintenance, road maintenance, and safety improvements in national parks and other public lands.

In the Grand Valley, the Colorado National Monument is arguably one of the most popular pieces of public land in the area, and run by the National Park Service.