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And now for some good news from Congress and the president.

No joke.

In a rare, welcome display of bipartisanship, Congress is poised to approve the most important conservation law passed in the United States in 40 years.

The legislation, known as the Great American Outdoors Act, would provide $9.5 billion over the next five years to repair America’s national parks. It also would provide $900 million a year in perpetuity from offshore oil drilling royalties to fund maintenance, repairs and expansion of national parks, state parks and city parks across the nation.

Chalk the compromise up to the kind of election year politics that was once commonplace in Washington, D.C.

The funding is urgently needed to improve aging roads, bridges, trails, camping facilities and lodging in national parks.

State and local parks would also benefit. The Bay Area News Group’s Paul Rogers reported that in the past the money has funded state grants to build 40,000 swimming pools, soccer fields, baseball diamonds, playgrounds, fishing piers, jogging trails and other projects at local parks nationwide.

It was John Muir who said, “Everybody needs beauty … places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike.”

The Great American Outdoors Act is a great way for us to preserve what Wallace Stegner famously called America’s best idea.

Print Headline: America’s best idea

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