The Carson Trail has been closed since April 29th due to the COVID-19 pandemic
This week, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by Collins to fully fund the LWCF, a program that has provided the refuge with more than $23 million.
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins joined U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Director Aurelia Skipwith in visiting the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge (RCNWR) in Wells today. They participated in the reopening of the Carson Trail, which has been closed since April 29th due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Senator Collins, FWS Director Skipwith, and other state and local leaders provided remarks during the celebration.
“Fifty years ago, this refuge was renamed to honor Rachel Carson, a remarkable woman who used her intellect, knowledge, and commitment to change the way we look at the natural world and our responsibilities to it. It now serves as a beautiful and powerful reminder that nature’s gifts are not to be taken for granted; they must be cherished, nurtured, and protected,” said Senator Collins. “I will continue to work to ensure that both current and future generations can enjoy the pristine beauty of our natural resources in Maine and across the county.”
"Increasing public access and opportunities for wildlife-dependent recreation has been a priority for this Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from day one," said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Aurelia Skipwith. "This is an historic win for conservation and for public lands in Maine. The Administration strongly supports this bill, and we are hopeful that the bill will make its way to the President’s desk for signature."
This week, the U.S. Senate passed the Great American Outdoors Act, a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by Senator Collins to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million per year. Over the last five decades, Maine has received more than $191 million in funding from LWCF, including more than $23 million for RCNWR. The Great American Outdoors Act will also address the multi-billion dollar deferred maintenance backlog at our national parks, wildlife refuges, and forests, which will help reduce the $2.8 million in deferred maintenance at RCNWR.
Senator Collins has led efforts to support LWCF for more than a decade. In 2005, Senator Collins, along with former Senator and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, led bipartisan efforts in the Senate to secure funding for the LWCF stateside program, which have funded projects in every county in the country, including 650 community projects in Maine.
Last year, legislation to permanently authorize LWCF was enacted with Senator Collins’ strong support. Additionally, Senator Collins joined a bipartisan group in introducing legislation to permanently fund LWCF at $900 million per year. LWCF has only been funded at its maximum authorization level of $900 million twice in its history.
The Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, named after a world-renowned marine biologist, author, and environmentalist who served as an aquatic biologist and editor-in-chief for the FWS, was established in 1966 in cooperation with the State of Maine to protect valuable salt marshes and estuaries for migratory birds. Located along 50 miles of coastline in York and Cumberland counties, the refuge consists of eleven divisions between Kittery and Cape Elizabeth.