August 2021

Salt lake city government

Utah has bet on cutting pandemic benefits to get people back to work. He hasn’t yet

A roadside banner invites potential employees outside a business in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, March 27, 2021. Utah Governor Cox hopes that by removing COVID-19 unemployment benefits, the unemployed from Utah will return to work. (Rogelio V. Solis, Associated Press)

SALT LAKE CITY – Gov. Spencer Cox was hoping to force jobless Utahns to look for work more aggressively when they decided to suspend pandemic-related federal unemployment insurance benefits on June 26, more than two months before they expire planned.

But data from a new study suggests the plan didn’t quite lead to those results, and Utah’s leading economy may be at least partially to blame.

A two-part survey conducted in June by researchers at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business sampled the feelings of jobless business owners and Utahns, including 500 households, about the outcome of the changes. in state unemployment benefits, among other issues.

One of the most notable data points goes to the heart of Cox’s hopes that the removal of benefits and extended benefits would entice job seekers.

“To assess the impact of the expiration of additional (unemployment insurance) payments, we asked respondents if this expiration would influence the time and effort they devote to job search or financial planning. “Says the investigation report. “More than 90% of those polled say that the expiry of (unemployment) benefits will have no impact on their efforts to find a job or their saving behavior.”

Unemployed survey respondents also weighed in resoundingly when asked whether the early cancellation of extended federal benefits would cause them to consider lower-paying employment opportunities – none said the change would make them feel better. would push them to take a lower paying job.

While the U.S. business school survey may not reflect the outcome Cox was looking for, one of the report’s authors said the circumstances behind these responses from the unemployed in Utah revolved around vibrant economic health and still in improving the state.

Nathan Seegert is a professor of finance at the Eccles School of Business and co-author of the report, which he says is part of an ongoing project to track Utah economic indicators and sentiment.

Seegert said a combination of factors, all of which are indicators of a strong economy, put the unemployed in a position of power when it comes to seeking that next opportunity.

“The model would predict that if UI wages went down, you would be more likely to accept a lower wage to get out of unemployment,” Seegert said. “But that’s not what we’re seeing at all and in our survey no one said they would take a lower paying job.

“This is in part due to consumer expectations regarding rising prices for goods and services as well as the housing market. While price increases are evidence of an economic recovery, it puts job seekers in a hurry. mind that they can’t afford to jump to a lower level. salary. “

And Seegert said Utah’s ultra-low unemployment rate, another positive economic indicator, also strengthens the ability of the unemployed to be picky.

“The state’s unemployment rate is very low,” Seegert said. “If employees feel like they can get a new job tomorrow, it puts them in a much better bargaining position.”

The market should not compete with the government for workers.

– Utah Governor Spencer Cox

Cox spokeswoman Jennifer Napier-Pearce said the Eccles report, which also highlighted a plethora of positive data from workers and business owners, was further proof that Utah was on track to fully recover from recessionary conditions caused by COVID-19.

“These data continue to show what we were hoping for: a return to normal in the economy and the labor market,” Napier-Pearce said in a statement. “We want to continue to help every Utahn find meaningful employment and help every business thrive.

“We are experiencing labor shortages again and although it is a challenge for companies, we hope that each Utahn takes this opportunity to improve their respective professional opportunities.”

In May, Cox said his decision to end pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits to some 24,000 Utahns before the scheduled end of benefits in September was the right move amid the rise in employment in the Status and robust recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.

“This is the next natural step in getting the condition and people’s lives back to normal,” Cox said when the decision was announced. “I believe in the value of work. With the lowest unemployment rate in the country… and many well-paying jobs available today, it makes sense to move away from those added benefits that were never intended to be. be permanent.

“The market should not be competing with the government for workers.”

He also noted that other “safety net programs” such as assistance with rent, utilities, food and medical bills will still be available.

Cox is among about 20 Republican state governors across the United States who made similar decisions about ending federal pandemic benefits in June, saying the added benefit keeps people from wanting to work .

Labor experts say the nationwide labor shortage isn’t just about the additional $ 300 payment. Some unemployed people have also been reluctant to look for work because of fear of catching the virus. Others have found new occupations rather than returning to their old jobs. And many women, especially working mothers, have had to leave the workforce to care for children.

In early June, the Utah Department of Workforce Services reported that just over 24,700 residents were receiving some type of unemployment benefit, of which about 12,000 were on traditional benefits as well as the pandemic allowance of $ 300 per week funded by the federal government. About 11,000 others were still receiving unemployment insurance benefits under federal extensions also created to mitigate the economic impacts of COVID-19 on American workers. And about 1,200 Utah workers – people employed by companies like Uber, Lyft, GrubHub and others who are classified as contractors exempt from typical unemployment benefits – have also received benefits under warrants. federal emergency. While federal deadlines for most pandemic-related benefits for the unemployed are due to expire in early September, Cox’s order cut them 10 weeks earlier than expected.

As of July 24, Workforce Services reported that 11,768 Utahns were still registered as unemployed.

Some Utah lawmakers saw the early cancellation of benefits as an unwelcome change.

Following Cox’s announcement, Utah House Minority Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, highlighted these factors while expressing frustration with the governor’s decision to end the benefits. in Utah.

“I mean, it’s the perfect example of a disconnect between people in normal life and people who are struggling to get back on their feet,” King said. “There are many, many people who are worried – afraid – of going back to work.”

What “frustrates me the most,” King said, is that Cox’s decision “reflects this thinking from many across the aisle that people don’t want to work. This is fundamentally wrong. “

Seegert said Utah’s current enviable economic vitality must pay tribute to the actions taken by Cox and state lawmakers, as well as the federal economic stimulus measures related to the pandemic, which have enabled the state to perform better than almost any other place in the country.

“The Utah government has responded extremely well to the economic conditions of the pandemic,” Seegert said. “The state’s social safety nets have worked very well … and the leaders just had the foresight to do a lot of things to keep the economic engine running.”

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Utah economy

Utah’s oil and gas industry is as busy today as it was during Trump’s “energy domination” days

There were only three drilling rigs in Utah’s oil and gas fields last January when new President Joe Biden suspended new leases on public lands while his administration revised the federal program of oil and gas.

Today, 10 platforms are digging new wells in the Uinta Basin, according to energy consultant Baker Hughes. Meanwhile, the industry has inundated agencies with drilling proposals in Utah, filing more applications in the past six months than in any six-month period under the favorable rule of the United States. Donald Trump’s industry as president, according to state data.

As state and industry leaders predict a disaster for energy development and rural employment from the Biden moratorium, which they call a development “ban”, the exact opposite seems to be happening. Utah’s oil and gas sector is waking up from its pandemic-induced slumber despite hurdles put in place by the climate-friendly Biden administration.

So what is going on? The price of oil has exceeded $ 70 a barrel. Energy companies are moving quickly to increase production as prices remain high, the Utah Oil, Gas and Mining Division said.

The boom is proof that financial incentives are driving energy development in Western public land states, not White House decrees, according to Landon Newell, a lawyer with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

“Utah said the sky was going to fall [because of Biden’s lease moratorium], but that was directly contradicted by the facts and reality, ”Newell said. “They’re drilling like mad in the basin where the governor’s office said things would stand still.”

Critics of the Biden administration have repeatedly characterized the moratorium as over-federal in scope and predicted dire consequences for the rural West. An industry-backed study from the University of Wyoming, for example, said a development ban on federal land would blow a $ 15 billion hole in Utah’s economy over 20 years.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox’s office said in May that the lease moratorium “would end potential future exploration and investment.”

While welcoming the upsurge in drilling, Cox maintains his previous position, according to Thom Carter, director of the governor’s office for energy development.

“The economic impact of all of this can be significant and we are concerned that the decisions will be felt nationwide and have a disproportionate effect on rural Utah,” Carter said. “While your report regarding a rebound in the pandemic is excellent, there are still real economic issues surrounding oil right now, including the cost at the pump which is at times declining.”

So far this year, Utah drillers have started 144 wells, state data shows. That’s almost that much at 154 for the whole of 2019, the year before the pandemic, and puts the year on track to beat 2018 and 2017, when 204 and 199 wells, respectively, were drilled.

Rikki Hrenko-Browning, president of the Utah Petroleum Association, attributed the rebound to a combination of factors, such as leases entered into during the previous administration, with a large number of claims submitted anticipating the Biden administration to fail. would support no new federal drilling, and a move to tribal lands.

“There is a long delay between rental, authorization and actual drilling, and it will take time for the full effects of the federal rental policy to be felt,” she said in an e- mail. “However, right now our state is lacking key revenues from lease sales that should have taken place this year and jobs are at risk if the illegal rental ban continues.”

Critics in the industry, however, argue that Utah’s oil and gas recovery tells a different story. They say it reinforces arguments made in internal memos prepared by Utah state agencies and a new report claiming the Biden lease moratorium will not slow energy development in the short term.

This is because so much public land in Western states has been leased for oil and gas development by the Trump administration. The glut of undeveloped federal leases in Utah would support drilling for the next 60 to 90 years at recent activity levels, according to a report released Wednesday by the Conservation Economics Institute, an Idaho-based think tank.

“We think these western states have their economies completely tied to this industry,” said Anne Hawke of the Natural Resources Defense Council, or NRDC. “But in fact, there is so much more going on economically in these states in terms of information services and jobs.”

The report was commissioned by SUWA, NRDC and several other conservation nonprofits that strongly support lease reform. He examines federal leases in Utah and four other Western power-producing states: New Mexico, Montana, Colorado, and Wyoming.

The groups released it on Wednesday ahead of the expected White House announcement of proposed reforms to the federal rental program overseen by the Bureau of Land Management.

“When the industry panicked after the Biden moratorium, this report provides a reason,” Hawke said. “It’s a long game and it’s not like we’re going to finish tomorrow. Jobs are not affected as they say. It highlights all the reasons why stepping back and taking a break are truly rational gestures. We all know the system is down. We need to look at the royalties.

There is also evidence that speculation is rampant in the federal rental program, particularly in Utah, where thousands of acres of leases are awarded to people with no known ability to actually develop them.

In his first day in office, Biden halted new leases while the Home Office conducted a comprehensive review, which he recently submitted to the White House. The moratorium only blocked new leases; it did not apply to drilling or production from existing leases.

A federal judge has since overturned the moratorium on leases, but the BLM has yet to resume offering new leases in Utah, although some have been issued in other states.

While environmentalists hope Biden’s reforms will limit federal leases, especially in environmentally sensitive or scenic locations, Utah officials want the industry to retain access to public energy resources in the West.

“We’re not interested in actions that pit rural and urban Utahns or rural and urban Americans against each other, and that’s what the president talked about when he was inaugurated, that’s what the governor Cox believes wholeheartedly, ”Carter said. “We want market-based decisions. We don’t want government decisions, so if the market determines some of the [the drilling surge], It’s awesome.”

Yet at the end of the day, federal lands are not at the heart of Utah’s oil and gas production, even though Utah is a key public land state. Of the 1,654 wells currently proposed for Utah, according to Carter, 58% are on non-federal land – that is, tribal, state or private land.

A review of past drilling and production shows that only a third of this activity in Utah has occurred on federal land. Yet a lot of federal land has been leased. According to BLM statistics, less than half of Utah’s 3 million acres under lease are in production.

In other words, unused oil and gas leases occupy 1.7 million federal acres in Utah, some of which are in sight of national parks and monuments. There is little the Biden administration can do to stop the industry from drilling most of this land.

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Salt lake city

Utah Jazz forward Elijah Hughes uses summer league to show he’s getting better every day

The second-year forward says he sees the coming season as another rookie campaign and is delighted to show off his defensive sense.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Jazz goalie Elijah Hughes (33) is put under net pressure by San Antonio Spurs goalie Anthony Mathis (34) as Utah Jazz White take on the San Antonio Spurs during the Salt Lake City League Summer on August 3, 2021 at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.

It’s safe to say that after hearing his name called on draft night, the rest of Elijah Hughes’ rookie season in the NBA didn’t quite go the way he had hoped.

As a second-round pick on a Utah Jazz team with championship aspirations, regular season minutes were always going to be hard to come by. They became even rarer when the coronavirus pandemic reduced the G League season to a few handfuls of games, and when, on top of that, Hughes sprained his ankle in one of them.

In total, the high-scoring Syracuse product has appeared in just five games with the Salt Lake City Stars and has played a total of 64 minutes in 18 appearances for parent club Jazz. Which is why, in some ways, he’ll treat his upcoming sophomore campaign like almost some kind of rookie.

“Absolutely. I’m really looking forward to it,” Hughes said ahead of the Salt Lake City Summer League at Vivint Arena.

Jazz fans and coaches are also looking forward to it.

The unwavering prowess he has displayed with the Orangemen has convinced many that he has a legitimate role to play on an NBA roster.

So, naturally, he intends to show his progress at the other end of the court in the weeks to come.

“I’m trying to focus on defense, number one, and let my offense come to me,” Hughes said. “… I look forward to showing my versatility in the Summer League, keeping one to four, sometimes even five to a small ball. I’m ready to show what I can do in defense. I’m a guy from Syracuse, so I know there’s a stigma on guys coming out who aren’t good defenders, so I just want to erase that stigma.

Jazz assistant coach Bryan Bailey, who leads the Utah-White entry into the SLC Summer League, agreed defensive consistency is key to Hughes’ future in the NBA.

“For him, the challenge is just to defend at a high level,” Bailey said. “If he can do it, that would be good for us. “

The 6-foot-5 winger performed well on this side in Tuesday night’s game against San Antonio, albeit against a Spurs roster largely devoid of players with NBA-level experience. Ironically, Hughes couldn’t find much rhythm to score the ball in play, sending his first 3-point attempt off the rim and backboard and then later having a engulfed rim drive. After a scoreless first half, he totaled seven points.

Anyway, when asked if he thought he was a better player than a year ago, he said, “Yes, 100%. “

He cited his improved footwork, communication, understanding of how he fits into patterns, and conditioning as the areas where he has improved the most.

He will have many more opportunities in the next few days to show them off. In the meantime, he’s just happy to have a few chances to play. What kept him sane last year, he explained, were the 3-on-3 games played by members of the organization who were not part of the regular rotation.

Being in live matches against opponents he doesn’t see every day is a bit special at this point.

“I love basketball. I have been playing this game since I was 4 or 5 years old. That’s what I prefer to do, ”he said. “… I love what I do. So just so I can play in the Summer League for the next few weeks, I really tried to focus on taking everything in its time. I can’t look too far. I want to. just make sure I’m better today. “What did I do today to get better?” It’s a bit summer [my] mentality.”

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Salt lake city

Fenice Mediterranean Bistro and The Capital Grill steakhouse will open on Regent Street in Salt Lake City.

The former Utah Power & Light building will house an upscale steakhouse.

(Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune) New restaurants are planned for Regent Street in Salt Lake City, located behind the Eccles Theater.

Editor’s Note • This story is only available to Salt Lake Tribune subscribers. Thank you for supporting local journalism.

New restaurants will soon open on Regent Street in Salt Lake City, the redeveloped block behind the Eccles Theater.

Fenice Mediterranean Bistro plans to open in a few weeks at 126 S. Regent, where Fireside on Regent was once located. As its name suggests, it will offer Italian and Mediterranean dishes as well as wood-fired pizzas.

This is the second restaurant for Jeff and Lisa Ward, who also own Park City’s popular Silver Star Cafe.

The grill of the capital, according to the company site, will launch in winter 2022 in the former Utah Power & Light building at the corner of 100 South and Regent streets. It will be Utah’s first restaurant for the national steakhouse chain, which has more than five dozen locations in the United States and Mexico City.

The building is owned by Taubman Properties, which operates the City Creek Center and the mall’s other two national restaurant chains – The Cheesecake Factory and Brio Tuscan Grille.

Fenice and The Capital Grill received full-service liquor licenses from the state last week, which will allow diners to have wine, beer or spirits with their food.

Regent Street, which is located between Main and State streets and 100 and 200 South, was once home to the Utah dailies and, before that, the Salt Lake City red light district.

As part of the construction of the Eccles Center, the street also received a facelift and was designed to be a pedestrian-friendly way to connect the City Creek Center to the north and the Gallivan Center to the south.

While there has been a rotating list of restaurants across the street, the most popular current restaurant today is Pretty Bird, a laid-back Nashville-style hot chicken restaurant. Other current occupants include Honest Eatery and FreshFin Poke.

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Salt lake city government

Compliance and challenge: States respond to new CDC mask guidelines

A handful of state and local mayors and health officials announced they would require vaccinated and unvaccinated residents to wear masks in indoor public places, in line with revised recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And some school districts have said they will implement the CDC’s recommendations for universal masking of teachers, staff and students.

But most state and local health officials have refrained from requiring the wearing of an indoor mask. Instead, they encouraged residents of areas where COVID-19 is spreading to wear masks in indoor public places as additional protection against the more contagious delta variant. Others said they were considering warrants.

In May, nearly all state and local jurisdictions lifted mask requirements for those vaccinated in response to the CDC’s recommendation at the time that fully vaccinated people did not need to wear face masks. inside.

The agency’s July 27 reversal for people vaccinated in high transmission communities was based on new scientific evidence that showed that vaccinated people can spread the virus, albeit at a much lower rate than those vaccinated. who are not vaccinated.

The change sparked more disagreements between Republican and Democratic politicians over masks and other pandemic-related public health precautions.

A handful of Republican governors criticized the CDC’s recommendations. The GOP governors of Florida, Georgia, Texas and South Carolina took their objection a step further, reiterating their opposition to mask mandates of any kind.

Meanwhile, the Democratic governors of Nevada and Hawaii have decided to reinstate or continue the mask mandates. Democratic mayors of Atlanta, the District of Columbia and Kansas City, Missouri, have also demanded that the mask be worn indoors.

Mayors of Birmingham, Alabama; Miami; Orlando; Salt Lake City; and Savannah, Georgia, reinstated the mandatory wearing of masks in public facilities.

Most Democratic governors have urged residents to adopt the new federal guidelines.

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New state laws cripple public health officials

But nearly all elected state and local leaders and public health officials agreed on one thing: more people need to be vaccinated to protect themselves from serious illness, hospitalization and death.

Criticizing the CDC’s latest mask recommendations, Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey said, “Public health officials in Arizona and across the country have made it clear that the best protection against COVID-19 was the vaccine. Today’s announcement by the CDC will unfortunately only diminish confidence in the vaccine and create more challenges for public health officials, people who have worked tirelessly to increase vaccination rates. “

Ducey this spring issued executive orders banning vaccine passports by local governments and telling state colleges and universities they couldn’t impose vaccine requirements on students.

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio urged residents on Monday to wear masks, but did not issue a warrant, saying the focus should be on vaccines. “The main event is the vaccinations,” he told CNN.

Some public health experts fear that Americans who are already hesitant to get vaccinated may be further discouraged by the CDC’s findings that people who have been vaccinated can still spread COVID-19.

At the same time, local public health officials in parts of the country are reporting that vaccination rates have started to rise as the virus begins to reappear.

In Louisiana, for example, where new cases are on the rise and intensive care beds are at full capacity in most hospitals, state health official and medical director Dr Joseph Kanter said during from a press briefing that vaccination rates in the state had nearly quadrupled in the past two weeks. .

Nationally, new cases of COVID-19 increased 64% in the last week of July, according to the CDC. Hospitalization rates for adults aged 18 to 49 increased for the first time since April, according to the CDC, rising 40% in early July compared to late June.

And deaths from COVID-19 are on the rise again in nearly every state, fueled by the more contagious and potentially deadly delta variant, the CDC reported last week. Almost 67% of counties nationwide have COVID-19 transmission rates high enough to trigger wearing an indoor mask, according to the CDC.

Last year, the country’s main safeguards against COVID-19 were the wearing of masks and social distancing. Now that vaccines are available, public health officials universally view them as the first line of defense.

But less than 70% of all Americans eligible for vaccines received their first injection, and in many states, less than half of all residents are vaccinated.

In 16 states, less than half of all residents have received even a single injection of the COVID-19 vaccine. Mississippi has the lowest vaccination rate at less than 40%, followed by Idaho, Wyoming, Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee, North Dakota, West Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas, Indiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, Montana and Ohio.

As COVID-19 cases began to increase in July, Los Angeles County, California, became the first local jurisdiction to reinstate a mask warrant. A handful of other counties in California and beyond followed. And the governor of Hawaii has decided not to lift the state’s existing mask requirement.

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Lawmakers set to withdraw emergency powers from governors

But at least three states have passed laws this year banning mask warrants generally, including Arkansas, Iowa and North Dakota.

Three other states – Arizona, Oklahoma and Utah – have new laws that prohibit schools from requiring masks.

Last week’s CDC announcement prompted Republican governors in Florida, Georgia, Texas and South Carolina to double down on their opposition to the mask and vaccine warrants.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott in May banned mask warrants in schools. Last week, he extended the ban to all state and local jurisdictions. Likewise, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who banned mask warrants earlier in July, has vowed not to impose a statewide mask rule or restrict any business and public activity. way either.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order that allows parents to ignore mask warrants in schools. And in South Carolina, Governor Henry McMaster tweeted that school districts could not implement mask mandates: “State law now prohibits school administrators from requiring students to wear masks.” The General Assembly agreed with me and this decision is now left to the parents.

Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who signed a bill banning state and local mask mandates in April, took the opposite approach, calling a special legislative session to reconsider the law regarding schools.

Oregon Democratic Governor Kate Brown has called on the state health authority and the education department to create a rule requiring indoor masks for K-12 schools across the country. State.

Despite the Republican backlash to the CDC mask flipping, state and local health officials say the federal agency’s new guidelines are making their job easier.

“With this recommendation, the CDC said that local health agencies should make the decision and that not all jurisdictions have to adopt the same rules,” said Adriane Casalotti, head of public and government affairs at the Association. national county and city public health officials.

“In places where the local health department was prohibited from imposing masks or lacked the political will to do so,” she said, “having this new direction helps them make the necessary choices. to try to help everyone protect themselves and their families. . “

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Utah economy

Great American Outdoors Act Anniversary Announces Free Day on Public Lands this Week – St George News


Undated 2017 file photo shows hiker descending Angels Landing Road with nearly 1,000-foot falls on both sides, Zion National Park, Utah | Photo by Caitlin This / Zion National Park, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – On Wednesday, designated as “Great American Outdoors Day”, the Home Office will celebrate the first anniversary of the signing of the Great American Outdoors Act. The law, which was passed with strong bipartisan support, makes unprecedented investments in national parks, public lands and Native American schools.

Hiked Snow Canyon State Park, Utah, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Red Mountain Resort, St. George News

To support the department’s commitment to ensure equitable access to public lands, entrance fees will be removed on Wednesday on all fee-paying public lands managed by the department, according to a press release issued by the department. Other charges, such as overnight camping, cabin rentals, group daytime use, and use of special areas, remain in effect.

“Creating new jobs and growing our economy is a top priority for the Biden-Harris administration. Through the Great American Outdoors Act, we are investing in the American people and in the future of our public lands and sacred spaces, ”Home Secretary Deb Haaland said in the press release. “I invite all Americans to experience the beauty and bounty of our nation’s public lands – not just August 4, but every day of the year.”

The Great American Outdoors Act helps support the goals of President Joe Biden’s America the Beautiful initiative to support locally-led efforts to conserve, restore and protect lands and waters across the country to help cope with crises in the climate and biodiversity, increase equitable access to wide open spaces and strengthen the economy, the statement said.

This summer is particularly busy on many public lands. While most of the 423 national parks are open, visitors may find limited services in and around the national parks. Check each park’s websites or download the NPS app for specific details on their operations. Learn more about alternatives to popular parks on the Interior blog. Public land enthusiasts are encouraged to similarly plan their visits with the Bureau of Land Management and the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Photo by Yobro10 / iStock / Getty Images Plus, St. George News

The Act provides for full and permanent funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund to the tune of $ 900 million per year. The Land and Water Conservation Fund was established by Congress in 1964 to fulfill a bipartisan commitment to protect the nation’s natural areas, water resources, and cultural heritage, and to provide recreational opportunities for all Americans.

The Act also established the National Parks and Public Lands Heritage Restoration Fund to provide the necessary maintenance of essential facilities on public lands and Indian schools. The projects funded by the restoration will help reduce Interior’s deferred maintenance backlog by more than $ 22 billion and improve recreation facilities, dams, water and utility infrastructure, schools and other historic structures. Other projects aim to increase public access by restoring and repairing roads, trails, bridges and parking areas.

By FY2022, Great American Outdoors Act-funded indoor projects are expected to support more than 17,000 jobs and generate $ 1.8 billion in local communities. Between the funding planned for FY2021 and the funding proposed for FY2022, Interior has deferred maintenance plans for the Legacy Restoration Fund in all 50 states and several U.S. territories.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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