President’s Budget Makes Historic Investment in Land and Water Conservation
“The President’s budget recognizes the importance of the Land and Water Conservation Fund to outdoor recreation, economic prosperity and growth.”
Washington, D.C.; March 4, 2014 – The President’s budget contains full and dedicated funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), making an historic investment in America’s most important conservation program. The budget restores the long-standing promise that a small portion of the revenues derived from offshore oil and gas development are used to make strategic investments to protect America’s irreplaceable natural, historic and recreational outdoor places. It is a significant victory for the conservation of America’s shared outdoor heritage.
Over its 50-year history, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has conserved land in every state and enabled more than 41,000 state and local conservation projects. Sadly, during that span the government has diverted $18 billion from the fund to unrelated purposes, creating a large backlog of unmet conservation needs. The President’s budget marks the restoration of honest budgeting, a turning point for the conservation of our nation’s greatest outdoor treasures.
LWCF is a critical tool used by land owners, small businesses, ranchers, sportsmen, veterans, outdoor recreationists, historical preservationists and conservation organizations to protect America’s public lands and safeguard our shared outdoor heritage for future generations. Members of the LWCF Coalition commented on the release of the President’s budget:
“The President’s budget recognizes the importance of the Land and Water Conservation Fund to outdoor recreation, economic prosperity and growth. Investments in our shared outdoor heritage, from backcountry to close-to-home recreational opportunities, are essential to outdoor companies and support an industry that accounts for $646 billion in direct consumer spending and 6 million jobs each year,” said Kirk Bailey, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Outdoor Industry Association.
“Loss of access to quality places to hunt and fish is one of the most pressing issues facing American sportsmen today,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “By fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund and re-dedicating these critical resources to conservation, we will grow fish and wildlife populations while increasing access and outdoor recreation opportunities for hunters and anglers.”
“The President’s budget is a significant victory for the conservation of America’s shared outdoor heritage. It fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund, America’s most important conservation program, ensuring that strategic investments will protect America’s irreplaceable natural, historic and recreational landscapes. The Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition applauds the conservation leadership of the President and the Administration as the Land and Water Conservation Fund nears its 50th Anniversary,” said Alan Rowsome, Senior Director of Government Relations for Lands at the Wilderness Society and co-chair of the LWCF Coalition.
“Throughout the nation, the National Trails System connects citizens and international visitors to American history, culture and landscapes while providing countless opportunities for healthful outdoor recreation. LWCF is a crucial lifeline for keeping our trails vibrant by providing necessary funding to acquire gaps and preserve critical sites and resources along them. The President’s budget will ensure that we can continue to retrace the footsteps of our shared American history and enjoy and celebrate the diverse natural beauty of the United States,” said Gary Werner, Executive Director of the Partnership for the National Trails System.
With its commitment to meet conservation needs in communities across America, the President’s budget sends a strong message to the nation about the importance of conserving our iconic landmarks. It reflects the growing momentum on Capitol Hill to restore honest budgeting to LWCF. A bipartisan coalition of Members of Congress and Senators recognize the strong connection between robust LWCF funding and the economic health of communities in all 50 states. Bipartisan legislation to fully fund LWCF (S.338) has 40 cosponsors, a number which continues to grow.
About the Land and Water Conservation Fund
The Land and Water Conservation Fund is America’s most important conservation program, responsible for protecting parks, wildlife refuges and recreation areas at the federal, state and local level. For 50 years, it has provided critical funding for land and water conservation projects, recreational construction and activities and the continued historic preservation our nation’s iconic landmarks from coast-to-coast.
LWCF does not use any taxpayer dollars – it is funded using a small portion of revenues from offshore oil and gas royalty payments. Outdoor recreation, conservation and historic preservation activities contribute more than a trillion dollars annually to the U.S. economy, supporting 9.4 million jobs.
About the LWCF Coalition
The LWCF Coalition is the umbrella group of more than 1,000 state and local land owners, small businesses, ranchers, sportsmen, veterans, outdoor recreationists, historical preservationists and conservation organizations working to protect America’s public lands and safeguard our shared outdoor heritage for future generations.
The Coalition is united in its advocacy for the reauthorization and full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which will ensure the continued conservation of our national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, wilderness, civil war battlefields, as well as state and local parks
For more information on LWCF and the places in each state conserved using LWCF funds, visit www.lwcfcoalition.org.