Land and Water Conservation Fund
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is a visionary and bipartisan federal funding program for protecting our nation’s most special places. From Sterling Forest in the New York Highlands, to White Cap Mountain in Maine, to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, LWCF has funded the protection of some of our most iconic landscapes and trails in the Northeast.
In December of 2015, after briefly allowing the LWCF to expire, Congress reauthorized the Land and Water Conservation Fund for three years. After allowing the program to expire again in September 2018, Congress voted in support of permanently reauthorizing LWCF in February 2019. AMC applauds our elected officials for their overwhelming support to permanently reauthorize LWCF. Congress should act next to provide full and dedicated funding to unleash the true promise of this critically important conservation and recreation program.
LWCF works to create parks and open spaces, protect wilderness, wetlands, and refuges, preserve wildlife habitat, and enhance recreational opportunities for everyone. It “authorizes” (but does not require) Congress to spend up to $900 million annually to conserve lands, forests, and trails across the nation; unfortunately, the program has been fully funded only once in its 40-year history.
Since 1964, the “federal-side” and “state-side” LWCF programs have helped to fund over 40,000 athletic and playing fields, 12,000 miles of hiking trails, 20,000 family picnic locations, 5,500 campgrounds, 10,000 swimming and boating facilities, and 600 hunting and nature areas. The LWCF is responsible for creating many of our greatest national parks; from the California Redwoods, to the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, to Acadia National Park.
Many of AMC’s leaders and members love to recreate in places that were protected by the LWCF, from Gateway National Recreation Area in New York City to the White Mountains in New Hampshire, to local state parks and trails in every state where we work.
Funding for LWCF comes from a portion of the federal proceeds received from oil and gas leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), a brilliant approach that balances the depletion of public OCS resources with investment in land, water and recreation resource protection.
AMC supports legislation to permanently reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund. You can speak up today on the Land and Water Conservation Fund through our Conservation Action Network, or show your support by making a gift.