Critical funding for the conservation of public lands was restored recently when Congress reinstated the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) as part of the omnibus appropriations bill passed on December 16, 2015. This action will reinstate LWCF, a 50-year-old conservation funding mechanism for the next three years. While this extension is welcome progress and illustrates bi-partisan support in the House and Senate, it is by no means the long-term solution conservation groups were seeking nationwide - permanent reauthorization of LWCF with reliable full funding at $900 million a year. The LWCF is a vital funding source for the Land Preservation Initiative at Voyageurs National Park. Since its creation in 1965, the fund has allocated a small portion of the revenue generated from offshore oil and gas drilling leases to protect parks, wildlife refuges and recreation areas at the local, state, and federal level.
It is essential for Voyageurs and conservation efforts across the U.S. that we push for a permanent authorization of LWCF. With your support, Voyageurs National Park Association will continue to be a voice for the park in these efforts.
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. LWCF benefits every state in the nation. Its many accomplishments include:
• Protecting more than 100 national battlefields in 42 states
• Supporting more than 40,000 parks and recreation projects in every state and nearly every county
• Protecting 2.2 million acres (1.7 million football fields) within our National Parks (including 65 acres at Voyageurs National Park)