What a New Administration Means for the Outdoors

The outdoors have always been a source of unity, regardless of who is in charge. So what could a new administration mean for our public lands and the experiences they provide? Here’s our take on what the election results mean for the outdoors.
Betsy Robblee Betsy Robblee
Conservation & Advocacy Director
November 18, 2020

The outdoors have always been a source of unity. In an often divisive world, the outdoors brings us together to explore, share, and ultimately protect the experiences they provide. Indeed, even with a divided Congress the last two years, we’ve achieved significant conservation wins with the recent passage of the Dingell Act and the Great American Outdoors Act. These bills passed with overwhelming bipartisan votes, showing that protecting public lands and waters has strong support from across the political spectrum.

So what could a new administration mean for the outdoors? Although the outdoor community successfully advocated for conservation initiatives in Congress, the current administration has rolled back numerous environmental protections and core conservation laws. We anticipate the Biden Administration will restore key protections for public lands. Some of these actions could happen quickly through executive actions, like reversing the reductions of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. Other regulatory fixes, including restoring protections for the Tongass National Forest and bedrock environmental laws like the National Environmental Protection Act, will take longer and will require continued advocacy by the outdoor community. 

The Biden Administration has said that tackling climate change, an existential threat to our natural landscapes and the experiences they provide, is a top priority in the coming years. The U.S. could rejoin the Paris Climate Accord as soon as day one of Biden’s term, and President-elect Biden has committed to signing an executive order to conserve 30% of U.S. land and waters by 2030. Other ambitious priorities like investing in clean energy infrastructure and achieving net-zero emissions targets will require congressional action. Addressing the effects of climate change on communities of color and low-income communities will be a central element of this work.

The coming years will require all of us to dig in, work hard, and continue to speak up. Those of us who love the outdoors need to educate the new administration about our priorities and ensure that conservation remains a top priority. The challenges are great, but so are the possibilities. 

Regardless of who is in charge, when our community speaks up for wild places, we have achieved historic conservation wins. The Mountaineers, a nonpartisan organization, has a track record of working with both parties to protect public lands and the experiences they provide. In the coming weeks, we’ll be finalizing a list of our advocacy priorities for 2021 and opportunities for Mountaineers to take action. The next four years will be critical to the future of our public lands and our planet, and it’s never been more important to make your voice heard.

Main Image: Mount Baker at sunrise. Photo by Betsy Robblee. 


Add a comment

Log in to add comments.
Julia Youngs
Julia Youngs says:
Nov 21, 2020 09:37 AM

Um...does the author realize that at this time, it is far from certain that there will even be a “new administration?

melissa monroe
melissa monroe says:
Nov 22, 2020 12:23 AM

i would really like to understand your envy of this new administration aka Biden for better land management of trails and open space yet THIS so-called new administration plans to open the flood gates to let in 20 million immigrants (let that number sink in) to America, legal or illegal, and what do you think those people will require ? space for housing, resources to live, eat, transportation, jobs, etc which can only affect these precious open spaces we all desire.. what about that travesty coming by your beloved upcoming administration ?