We Need to Fully Fund the LWCF

Crater Lake

Fully Funding the LWCF is Important, Especially Now

Access to the outdoors is good for mental and physical health. People are taking advantage of outdoor spaces, while maintaining physical distancing and following CDC guidelines. Many of these opportunities exist because of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

With people flocking outside, investments in improving access to public lands are important now more than ever.  Full funding for LWCF is needed to create more access points on existing public lands, and build more close-to-home parks and trails across the country.

Investing in our public lands, and providing full, permanent funding for LWCF through the Great American Outdoors Act is a low-cost economic stimulus that will pay big dividends for communities across America.

  • A permanent, fully-funded LWCF will provide a huge economic boost for the outdoor recreation industry by expanding places for people to fish, hike, hunt, and get outside during this period of social distancing.
  • Across the nation, the travel and tourism industries have been taking a hit in the current crisis. Investing now in full funding for LWCF will help with a strong long-term recovery for gateway communities and states that rely on visitors to public lands.
  • Every dollar spent on LWCF returns $4 in economic value from natural resource goods and services alone - over and above the economic benefit of the outdoor recreation economy and tourism! (TPL)
  • Addressing the $18 billion maintenance backlog on our federal public lands is long overdue. The Great American Outdoors Act would address this backlog and full fund LWCF, to not only fix the crumbling infrastructure at many of our national parks, trails, refuges and other public lands - but put Americans to work in a critical time for our economy.

What You Can Do

Send a message to your elected officials in Congress. Ask them to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Take Action

Patuxent National Wildlife Reserve

The Land and Water Conservation Fund has Helped Fund, Maintain, and Conserve Parks Across the Country

the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was created in 1964. It was a bipartisan effort to provide recreation opportunities to all Americans while safeguarding and preserving natural areas, water resources and our cultural heritage. The LWCF supports national parks like the Grand Canyon and Great Smokey Mountains along with national wildlife areas, forests, rivers, and lakes. It is also is vital to community parks, trails, and ball fields in every state thanks to funds set aside by the LWCF.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is simple: It uses royalties from offshore oil and gas production to support the conservation of our land and water. Every year, $900 million in royalties paid by energy companies drilling for oil and gas on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) are put into this fund. The money is intended to protect national parks, areas around rivers and lakes, national forests, and national wildlife refuges from development, and to provide matching grants for state and local parks and recreation projects.

The Funds from the LWCF have never been fully appropriated by Congress -- that means our lands and water are missing out. Now, when people are relying more and more on our outdoor spaces to help cope with physical distancing and stay home orders, we need to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund more than ever.

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Greetings from Grand Canyon National Park