Northwest business leaders fly to the other Washington to protect the outdoors

April 1, 2014

D.C — Business and conservation leaders from Washington state arrived in our nation’s capitol today to meet with the state’s congressional delegation about funding to protect the outdoors and support local economies.

The leaders represent Olympic Resource Management/Pope Resources, Port of Camas-Washougal and the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition.

Uniting these groups is a federal grant program called the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). This program is the premier funding source protecting our nation’s natural heritage from national parks to rivers and working forests.

“Pope Resources supports the Land Water Conservation Fund as one tool to help landowners realize the value of development rights while retaining the economic, social, and environmental values of working forests,” said Jon Rose, President of Olympic Property Group, a Pope Resources company.

Despite these benefits, a majority of LWCF funding has been diverted by Congress each year.

On April 2nd and 3rd, Washington business leaders will ask the state’s Congressional delegation to support renewal for LWCF with full funding at $900 million annually.

President Obama recently released his 2015 budget request that included full funding for LWCF. It will be up to Congress to make this a reality.

“In its 50 year history, this program has provided immense benefit in spite of the fact that it has been fully funded only once. Communities like ours that still need funding to complete recreation and conservation projects would be left high and dry if LWCF were to disappear” said Kim Noah, Finance Director, Port of Camas-Washougal.

“We need LWCF to continue. It encourages economic growth and responsible use of our diverse, scenic landscapes, all without using any taxpayer dollars,” said Hannah Clark of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition. “I look forward to working with our Congressional allies to ensure the future of our great outdoors.”

About LWCF

Created by Congress in 1965, the Land and Water Conservation Fund is the nation’s premier federal grant program for conservation and outdoor recreation. The program uses no taxpayer dollars. Instead, $900 million in offshore oil and gas lease revenue is meant to be invested in parks and outdoor recreation opportunities each year. However, a majority of LWCF funds continue to be diverted for unrelated purposes.

About the Coalition

The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition is a non-profit citizens group founded in a historic bipartisan effort by former Governors Dan Evans and Mike Lowry. The Coalition promotes public funding for Washington’s outdoors through the state Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program and the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. Members consist of a diverse group of over 280 organizations representing conservation, business, recreation, hunting, fishing, farming and community interests. The breadth and diversity of the Coalition is the key to its success — no one member could secure such a high level of funding for parks and habitat on its own.