Washington Congressional Leaders Call for Reauthorization of LWCF

June 24, 2015

Less than 100 days remain before expiration of premiere conservation and outdoor recreation program

For more information, contact: Vlad Gutman, 206.748.0082

The week of June 24th marks the last 100 days of the Land and Water Conservation fund which will expire unless Congress moves quickly to reauthorize the program. Created in 1964, LWCF has invested over $600 million dollars in Washington alone, providing grants to hundreds of national, state and local parks, trails, fishing access sites, and recreational facilities, and supporting working forests and family farms.

Congressmen Derek Kilmer and Dave Reichert participated in a conference call organized by the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, which brings together 280 businesses and non-profits, to highlight the importance of LWCF.

“The outdoor spaces that the Land and Water Conservation makes possible, help Washington be a number one destination for tourists and businesses alike, bringing people from all over the world,” said Congressman Dave Reichert of Washington’s 8th district. “Whether it’s local parks that families enjoy, or the incredible hiking trails Washingtonians flock to every weekend, LWCF is a crucial part of making our state a beautiful place to live. We can’t afford to let it expire this fall.”

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund helps us protect and enhance outdoor spaces that draw visitors and boost local businesses,” said Representative Derek Kilmer of Washington’s 6th congressional district. “With its expiration fast approaching we need Congress to take up our bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the fund. It’s important to the future of our outdoor economy.”

“In Washington state, the LWCF has helped preserve places like the Columbia River Gorge, Lake Chelan, Mount Rainier and Olympic National Parks, and it has improved management of our public lands,” Senator Maria Cantwell, ranking member of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said. “The LWCF is the country’s most successful conservation law, supporting an outdoor economy of more than $600 billion annually and 6 million American jobs. We must reauthorize and fully fund this critical, effective program.”

“Washington is fortunate to have such strong leadership dedicated to reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund,” said Joanna Grist, Executive Director for the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition. “Representatives Kilmer and Reichert, along with Senator Murray and Cantwell, understand that reauthorizing LWCF is a critical part of promoting an outdoor recreation industry that supports nearly 200,000 jobs in Washington. We’re grateful for their commitment to our great outdoors and the public access and jobs that depend on it.”

A recording of the call is available online.


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.

What is 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.