The Land and Water Conservation Fund has enhanced outdoor recreation for anglers, hunters, others without costing taxpayers at all
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has helped support and secure the United States’ wildlife heritage since 1964 by supporting anglers, hunters, and outdoor recreation, according to a new report out today from the National Wildlife Federation. However, the Land and Water Conservation Fund is at risk of expiring unless Congress acts by the end of September to reauthorize and fully fund this critical conservation program.
According to the report, two football fields’ worth of natural areas in the West have been disappearing every 5 minutes. The Land and Water Conservation Fund helps solve this problem by buying and protecting land for Americans to use for hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, and simply enjoying being in nature.
“As America's population grows, we need to grow our protected places and parks with it. The Land and Water Conservation Fund has been critical to securing the special places that hunters, anglers, and others count on to recreate and safeguard our wildlife heritage for future generations. This report vividly highlights how this is all at stake unless Congress acts within the next two weeks,” said Tracy Stone-Manning, associate vice president for public lands at the National Wildlife Federation. “The Land and Water Conservation Fund doesn’t cost taxpayers a dime — it’s paid for by fees that are collected on offshore energy development. It should be a no-brainer for Congress to reauthorize and fully fund this amazing program so that all of their constituents will continue to benefit from it.”
Renowned sportsman Hal Herring imagined the loss Americans would experience as a future without the Land and Water Conservation Fund: “The end of the LWCF will be the end of an era in the U.S., an era in which the common citizens have come to expect a higher quality of life, cleaner waters for swimming, open spaces for running and playing with their children, the ability to hold on to traditions like hunting and fishing, hiking, wandering and camping, experiencing the true freedom of our birthright as Americans.”
The new report outlines the projects that the Land and Water Conservation Fund has invested in that benefit sportsmen and wildlife by increasing access to hunting and fishing grounds and connect wildlife migration corridors so there are more examples of continuous wilderness across America. The Land and Water Conservation Fund utilizes fees on oil and gas revenues from the outer continental shelf and has zero cost to taxpayers. Communities are enjoying LWCF programs everywhere, from helping fund the 102-mile Gold Medal Trout fishery in Colorado — known for brown and rainbow trout — to providing $200 million over the years to help restore the Everglades in Florida.
“Since 1964, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has helped make sure hunters and anglers have places to get outdoors and enjoy the sports they love,” the report reads. “In all 50 states, LWCF is supporting wildlife, protecting habitat, and ensuring public access for sportsmen and women. It’s time for Congress to step up and reauthorize and fully fund this amazing resource that benefits us all. The future of our beloved hunting and fishing heritage depends on their action.”
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More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 53 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.