Wildlife & Recreation Coalition thanks Senator Cantwell for leadership to protect land and water funding

March 31, 2015

Senator Cantwell co-sponsors S-890 to preserve fair funding for conservation in Washington State

For more information, contact: Karin Frank, 206.748.0082

Senator Maria Cantwell is leading the fight to protect Washington state’s critical lands and watersheds through her co-sponsorship of a bill to protect the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). S-890 would permanently authorize and fully fund the LWCF, which conserves and promotes public access to the country’s parks, forests, and public lands.

“We are incredibly grateful to Senator Cantwell for her continued leadership on behalf of Washington’s great outdoors,” said Vlad Gutman, policy director of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition. “Outdoor recreation supports nearly 200,000 jobs in Washington state. It is important for Congress to secure full funding and reauthorization for the LWCF to preserve our economy and quality of life, and we’re fortunate to have strong leaders like Senator Cantwell who work to protect our natural heritage.”

Since 1965, the LWCF has invested over half a billion dollars for state and federal land conservation projects in Washington alone, providing grants to hundreds of state and local parks, trails, fishing access sites, and recreational facilities, and supporting working forests and family farms. “In Washington State, the LWCF has helped preserve places like the Columbia River Gorge, Lake Chelan and Olympic National Park, and it has improved management of our public lands,” Sen. Cantwell said. “Thanks to the LWCF, we were able to maintain public access to camping and picnic areas on Mt. Rainier previously jeopardized by frequent flooding and costly maintenance.”

Senator Cantwell’s LWCF bill would fund a number of proposed projects across Washington state in 2016, including:

  • The preservation of 165 acres of historic farmland dating back to the 1850’s at Ebey’s Landing on Whidbey Island through conservation easements.
  • Forest Legacy Program conservation easements to protect working forests at Mt. St. Helens and promote sustainable forestry.
  • Federal acquisition of properties in the Lake Quinault area of the Olympic National to protect local fisheries and curb pollution that is threatening water quality.

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.