If you’ve never heard of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), you’re not alone. Although it’s been called “America’s most successful conservation program,” it’s not very well known. Here is LWCF 101:
- This bipartisan program began in 1965 when Congress agreed that a small portion of federal leasing revenues from energy development should be reinvested to protect public land.
- LWCF is funded by a percentage of the more than $6.7 billion in annual offshore oil and gas lease revenue, not taxpayer dollars.
- Every year, LWCF can receive up to $900 million of offshore gas and drilling revenue to spend on conservation efforts, though Congress often appropriates it at a lower amount.
- Money intended for this program continues to be diverted for other purposes, and recently the fund has received only one-third of its authorized funding level.
- LWCF needs permanent authorization and full funding (at $900 million).
- The funds go to protecting national treasures in and around national parks, forests, monuments, and refuges
- LWCF Stateside dollars provide crucial support to create and enhance state and local parks and to develop close-to-home recreation facilities across the country.
- Full and dedicated funding is needed for LWCF to fulfill its promise to protect local, state, and federal outdoor recreation and natural areas in America.
On September 30, LWCF will expire forever, meaning that all the funds that we need to protect important trails, national parks, and urban recreation centers, will be gone. Please email your representatives today encouraging them to support the reauthorization of LWCF. Tell them why this is important to you - what trails you enjoy, how often you get outside, and how you enjoy family time spent outdoors.