Friday, March 17, 2023

By:  Morgan Gwynn

Central Oregon Daily News

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, spoke at OSU-Cascades in Bend on Friday afternoon about giving Oregon public lands the boost they deserve.

“Thanks to the Great American Outdoors Act, funding for Oregon from the Legacy Restoration Fund is estimated to address $130 million in deferred maintenance across the state’s public lands,” said Haaland.

Central Oregon is, of course, known for it’s natural spaces. Visit Bend told us that without those spaces, tourism dollars would not be flooding in.

“It’s access to outdoor recreation. It’s access to natural landscapes, I think it’s the blue skies and fresh air. I think without that, we don’t have a destination,” said Kevney Dugan, CEO of Visit Bend.

Secretary Haaland also explained the nationwide $1 billion America the Beautiful Challenge.

“This is an opportunity for states, tribes, territories, local groups, non-governmental organizations and others to apply for funding to accelerate land, water and wildlife conservation efforts,” said Haaland.

She also added that expanding access to nature will assist in meeting environmental justice goals and helping address the climate crisis. 

“These values, I know, the people of Oregon care deeply about,” said Haaland.

Haaland will stay in Oregon until Sunday where she will speak in Medford about wildfire prevention.