Coalition Thanks Members of Washington’s Congressional Delegation for Supporting Federal Conservation Fund

March 29, 2012

Investment in lands creates jobs and boosts economy

Seattle, WA – Today, the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition thanked Senator Cantwell and Representatives Larsen, McDermott, Smith and Reichert for their continued support in Congress of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a critical tool for protecting clean water, wildlife habitat, open space, and recreation in Washington State.

“We commend Senator Cantwell and Representatives McDermott, Smith, Larsen and Reichert for their leadership in protecting Washington’s parks, wildlife, and outdoor economy” said Joanna Grist, Executive Director of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition.  “Clearly, they understand that Washingtonians want to protect the nation’s most critical conservation tool.”

Representatives Larsen, McDermott and Smith joined 152 members of the U.S. House in signing a bipartisan letter to House Appropriations Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Subcommittee Chairman Mike Simpson and Ranking Member James Moran requesting continued funding for LWCF. Representative Reichert sent his own letter to the Subcommittee leadership urging robust funding for the conservation fund.

Senator Cantwell joined a similar letter to Senate Appropriations Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Jack Reed and Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski, joined by five Republicans and 39 Democrats.

Created by Congress in 1965, the LWCF is funded from Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas lease revenues to protect vulnerable and iconic lands while improving outdoor recreation opportunities for every American. The fund uses no taxpayer dollars.

If funded to the level recommended in the recently released Fiscal Year 2013 Interior Department budget, LWCF could fund land protection projects in Washington including Mt Rainier National Park, scenic lands along the Pacific Crest Trail, wildlife habitat in Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, and working forest lands along the Strait of Juan de Fuca in Pysht Coastal Forest, as well as grants for state and local parks.

“Investments in the Land and Water Conservation Fund not only protect our irreplaceable land and water resources, but also support local economies — our conservation and recreation-based economy supports 115,000 jobs across Washington,”  said Peter Dykstra, President of the Coalition’s Board and Pacific Northwest Regional Director for the Wilderness Society.

LWCF funds have helped protect Mount Rainier, Olympic National Park, Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge, and Mount St Helens, and create hundreds of local and state parks that families visit every day.