Public Lands

Preservation & Public Lands

Our federal public lands contain diverse and iconic cultural landscapes, historic structures, and archaeological sites that belong to all of us. The National Trust for Historic Preservation public lands program is dedicated to protecting and enhancing these resources. We focus on ensuring that the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service and other federal land management agencies achieve their stewardship responsibilities for historic and cultural resources.

The Great American Outdoors Act

Update! On July 22, 2020, the House overwhelmingly passed the bill by a strong bipartisan vote of 310-107. On August 4, 2020 the bill was signed into law. 

The Great American Outdoors Act

The Great American Outdoors Act is Now Law

During the week of June 14, the Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation that will provide the greatest investment in historic and cultural resources on our public lands in more than a generation. The Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), which passed with bipartisan support by of vote of 73-25 on June 17, will invest up to $9.5 billion to repair historic and other assets of the National Park Service (NPS) and other federal agencies. It will also fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million annually to help our public lands continue to grow to tell fuller American stories and provide greater access to our shared cultural heritage. The bill passed the House on July 22 with a strong bipartisan vote of 310-107. 

Deferred Maintenance at NPS

The National Park System tells the story of remarkable people and events in our nation’s rich history at sites across the United States. Unfortunately, inconsistent public funding has resulted in an infrastructure repair backlog estimated to be about $12 billion dollars, and many of the National Park Service’s most significant historic sites are at risk of falling into disrepair.


Bears Ears

The National Trust for Historic Preservation provided testimony on legislation to revoke the Bears Ears National Monument designation and replace it with two small monuments covering just 15 percent of the cultural landscape protected by the original monument.