September 19, 2018
The Land & Water Conservation Fund is on the Chopping Block
There is a critical need for Congress to reauthorize the Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which expires Sept. 30, and to do this, we all need to encourage our representatives to support the save the LWCF and fund it.
This program has done more for public outdoor recreational access than any other since its start in 1965. It has funded so many projects that we take for granted today that it's difficult to track every park and amenity it paid for. Locally, it has probably paid for boat ramps that you use, or the infrastructure that makes state parks, preserves, WMAs and national parks useable, and so many other facilities and programs that give us better access to the outdoors.
Over the past five decades, the LWCF has helped access to the outdoors in every state, conserving national parks, forests, land by rivers, lakes and oceans and Americans' access to these places. The idea behind LWCF is simple: use a small portion of federal offshore drilling fees to protect these places and our access to them. But the promise of LWCF has been derailed. Not only have billions of dollars in the LWCF fund been diverted, but in 2015 Congress voted to let the program expire. While it quickly renewed LWCF, it is set to expire again at the end of September, 2018. It's critical that LWCF be permanently authorized with full funding.
Here is a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service link to places that were funded by LWCF in Florida. It is searchable by city and county. You will recognize dozens of places on this list, and many of which this magazine has written about over the decades.
Take a look at this list:
Here is a fact sheet about LWCF funding for Florida:
Given the incredible success of LWCF, ask your member of congress to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Then Congress must appropriate money to be spent from the fund for certain projects. Ask Congress to permanently dedicate and appropriate funding at $900 million a year for LWCF projects.
Your action on this issue can help keep access to the outdoors open for Americans.
Take 5 minutes and send a simple letter or email to Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson. Also copy your local U.S. Representative (find their contact here: www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative
). Urge them to support reauthorization and full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. If they need more background info, tell them to check out www.nwf.org/LWCFfishandgame
. Or, simply suggest they visit their closest state or national park!