Hosted by AmericanTrails.org
From parks to playgrounds, wilderness to wetlands, bicycle paths to hiking trails, LWCF has helped communities nationwide acquire nearly seven million acres of parkland, water resources, and open space.
For current funding and issues see Land and Water Conservation Fund resources
November 8, 2013: Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), issued a report on October 29 to address National Park Service funding issues. One of Coburn's key recommendations is to move Land and Water Conservation Fund money from federal land acquisition to maintenance of NPS properties. Coburn criticizes the $455 million the Park Service spends on administration, and cites the $530 million maintenance backlog on Washington DC’s National Mall and Memorial Parks alone. The report also criticizes the use of LWCF funding: "Over the last decade, Congress has appropriated $527.4 million through the LWCF to acquire more land for the National Park Service. During that period, the needed repairs on existing NPS land increased by $5.4 billion." See Sen. Coburn's report “PARKED! How Congress’ Misplaced Priorities are Trashing Our National Treasures.”
August 15, 2012: Land and Water Conservation Fund supporters suggest grassroots action to take this summer:
1) Using Social Media- continue to use the #WhyWeLoveLWCF hashtag on twitter- examples below:
Use this for Twitter: Did you know (insert the place they mentioned) was protected by LWCF? #WhyWeLoveLWCF http://WhyWeLoveLWCF.org Use this for Twitter: The Land & Water Conservation Fund protected (insert place name). Show your support by following @lwcfcoalition #WhyWeLoveLWCF
Facebook Status Updates:
- Hikers. Hunters. History Buffs. What do they have in common? Love for the Land & Water Conservation Fund!
- LWCF: A conservation program that hikers, hunters, and history buffs can all get behind!
Find three Facebook photos to share with this message here:
2) Write an LTE or Op-Ed: We can work with you on creating a draft for your local paper
3) Attend a town hall meeting or a campaign event: Checking your Members' website is a great place to find out about upcoming town hall or other events they are having.
4) Attend a ribbon cutting or other LWCF related event: Call Members' offices or visit their websites to find out about these events so you can talk about LWCF directly to your Member.
5) Write an email or call your Member: This can be a really effective tool for direct outreach to your Member and their staff. We are available to help with crafting this message. Make sure to send an EMAIL, since a hand written letter can take several weeks to reach a Congressional office due to mail security procedures.
June 30, 2012: Land and Water Conservation Fund was eliminated from the big surface transportation bill just passed by Congress. Language authorizing $1.4 billion in funding for conservation, land acquisition, parks, and trails was not included. However, on June 28 the House Appropriations Committee approved a fiscal year 2013 appropriations bill that reduces funding for activities under the Land and Water Conservation Fund. For federal land acquisition the committee would provide just $51.6 million, compared to the current appropriation of $186.7 million. Stateside grants were reduced to $2,8 million, compared to a FY 2012 appropriation of $45 million.
Gareth Jones of Outdoors America suggests thanking Members of Congress for their support of LWCF in the Transportation Conference:
"We are extremely disappointed in the outcome of the Transportation negotiations (and we know you are as well). We look forward to continuing to work with you to ensure that LWCF is fixed and that these non-taxpayer dollars are spent on their intended conservation purposes for the benefit of all Americans, but especially in [STATE/TOWN].
"Thank you for all of your tireless efforts to keep LWCF in the final Transportation bill. It was a hard fought battle and we are eager to work with you to find a solution that provides dedicated and consistent funding for LWCF on the next possible moving vehicle in Congress.
"With all of the press coverage of the transportation conference, we can also expect that opponents will be spreading misinformation of LWCF. This is of course even more disappointing given the strong bipartisan support from so many Members in both the House and the Senate, and the important benefits that LWCF brings to [STATE/TOWN]. It is important for all of us to set the record straight and we ask that you join us in doing that.
"Please highlight this message in your transportation bill statements to make it clear that you, your constituents, and millions of Americans support LWCF as a critical partner to states, local communities and private organizations who want to invest in the outdoor recreation economy, our hunting and fishing heritage, and the health and quality of life of American families. To minimize this broad and deep support by characterizing LWCF otherwise is disrespectful and wrong.
"We also understand that the transportation bill did retain the Gulf Coast funding that was part of the original Senate amendment. While this is an amazing conservation opportunity for the five Gulf states, and for addressing the damage from the oil spill, it does not address our pressing conservation needs here at home in [STATE/TOWN]. We know you will continue to fight for a similar investment of funds into the LWCF so that local needs in your state can be addressed.
"[NAME AN LWCF PROJECT THAT IS PENDING AND WILL BE AT RISK WITHOUT DEDICATED AND CONSISTENT LWCF FUNDING.] This is exactly the kind of high-priority public investment that we need LWCF to address in our area and across America,, and we hope you will work to impress that point on and correct the record among your House colleagues."
March 21, 2012: From National Association of State Park Directors - The next step in our effort to influence the FY13 congressional budget process to include fair funding for the State Assistance program of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Your organization or community can also send a letter in support.
In a joint effort with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and the National Association of State Outdoor Recreation Liaison Officers (NASORLO) we intend to send the following letter to the members of the Senate and House Interior Appropriations Subcommittees:
We wish to extend our thanks and appreciation to you for your work on the FY12 Interior Appropriations bill and ask for your continued support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and specifically, the State Assistance program of the LWCF as you consider funding for FY13.
Once again, it is imperative that you provide funding for the State Assistance program. We specifically ask you to allocate 40 percent of total LWCF funding to the State Assistance program, the same amount that is provided to the federal land acquisition program and ask you to take steps to ensure the State Assistance funds are distributed to the states and localities using the same formula that has been successful from FYs 1965-2011- a formula which does not include a competitive grant program administered by the Department of Interior (DOI).
As you may recall, the LWCF is budget neutral. The authors of the original legislation determined that revenues raised from the sale of oil and gas leases would be the perfect source of funds for reinvestment toward the conservation and protection of our nation’s outdoor recreation areas at the state and local level. As a result, throughout its forty-six year history, the LWCF State Assistance program has provided critical funds in 98% of the counties across America. Funds are distributed to every state in the nation on a formula basis which recognizes the individual needs of rural and urban areas. States then award grants to projects within their borders based on the needs identified by the states.
There is a misconception that LWCF is only a federal land acquisition program. That is not true as local communities receive significant benefit from the program through grants for capital construction and improvement projects for outdoor recreational resources such as playgrounds and recreation areas. The LWCF State Assistance program fosters economic growth through support of active outdoor recreation, which contributes $730 billion annually to the U.S. economy and supports 6.5 million American jobs according to research done by the Outdoor Industry Association. Another study by the University of Massachusetts notes that investment in park and recreation conservation projects, such as those supported by the LWCF State Assistance program, creates jobs at an even higher rate than sectors such as new highway construction, oil, gas, and solar energy projects. LWCF State Assistance grants are also leveraged dollar for dollar and more through a required non-federal match.
Once again, for FY13, the DOI has proposed changing the distribution formula of the program; specifically proposing to use a significant portion of State Assistance funds for a DOI administered competitive grant program. Such an idea would effectively decrease the amount of funding to each state through the current formula and reduce the number of local projects that are constructed annually.
We fully recognize that the country is in an economic crisis and program reductions and eliminations must be implemented in order to salvage our nation’s financial security. However, at a time when the states are facing $18.5 billion in unmet outdoor recreational needs, funding for the State Assistance program is even more critical.
Thank you for supporting a program that benefits your constituents and all of those across the U.S.
We are asking you to join with the other individual members of our three organizations to lend your name and affiliation (no signatures required) in support of this letter.
We intend to include the names of all the members who respond favorably as signers of the letter and deliver copies to the Senate and House Interior Appropriations Subcommittees. These are the Senators and Representatives who have significant influence on the budget process and can act to include fair funding for the LWCF State Assistance program in the FY13 budget.
Please reply to this message by close of business Monday, March 19.
Tom Wolfe, Washington Representative
National Association of State Park Directors
March 21, 2012: (from Lindsey Levick, LWCF Coalition): We got the final House Dear Colleague back last night, and due to your tremendous efforts, we reached our high level from last year and outpaced it! 152 members signed our letter, including 11 Republicans (Bass, Dold, Gerlach, Hayworth, LoBiondo, King, Grimm, Guinta, Fitzpatrick, Meehan, and Hanna), during what continues to be a very challenging budget environment. This is a huge accomplishment, and something that once again shows how effective you are as advocates. In addition to the 11 Republican signers, we also had another 8-10 who submitted strong programmatic requests to the appropriations committee on LWCF, and many appropriators who don’t sign letters to themselves also submitted separate requests. So, the statement we are making will not go unnoticed. Huge thank you for all your efforts, and now we turn our attention to the Senate. On the heels of our successful vote in the transportation bill several weeks ago, we will be able to make a major statement with that letter as well. It should be ready and available for you to collect signatures shortly and we’ll have a new excel matrix of targets. Download letter to House members supporting LWCF...
March 8, 2012: (from Lindsey Levick, LWCF Coalition): The LWCF/Restore Act amendment passed today by a vote of 76-22, with both Democrats and Republicans on the winning side. This is a truly important victory as we move towards dedicated funding and a long term authorization for LWCF. This LWCF language had been added to the Nelson RESTORE Act amendment (#1822) which:
January 15, 2012 (from Lindsey Levick, LWCF Coalition): The President’s budget proposal provides $450 million for LWCF in FY 13. This includes $60 million for States to grant to local governments for parks, trails, and open space projects. Though it is disappointing that $900 million was not included in the President’s budget request, it is clear that Secretary Salazar is still very much committed to the program and a 30% increase over the FY 12 enacted level is one of the highest increases any program got across the federal spectrum. In addition, the commitment to continue working with us on legislative opportunities for full funding of LWCF will be critical as we work with our Hill champions over the next few months. Read news releae: "COALITION APPLAUDS PRESIDENT’S CONTINUED SUPPORT FOR CONSERVATION FUND"...
Breakdown of LWCF dollars in the President’s Budget by agency and program:
The LWCF Coalition also sponsored a letter to the Senate for OCS Revenue in the Highway Transportation Bill
January 9, 2012 (from Lindsey Levick, LWCF Coalition): On February 7, the Senate Finance Committee will mark up “The Highway Investment, Job Creation and Economic Growth Act of 2012.” This legislation will raise revenue for infrastructure spending, specifically to address a shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund— a purpose for which some have suggested redirecting Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) drilling royalties that currently go toward the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). It is possible that amendments may be offered that will take funding away from LWCF to use for highways.
The LWCF Coalition has drafted a letter to the Senate Finance Committee urging the protection of this critical program, which is based on the unfailing logic that when the federal government sells the finite irreplaceable OCS resources we all own, it should reinvest at least a portion of the proceeds from that sale into the dwindling irreplaceable open spaces and recreational opportunities we all need. Through many debates over how best to use OCS revenues, Congress has always maintained its half-century commitment to LWCF and we are urging the Committee to uphold that tradition.
January 9, 2012 (from Lindsey Levick, LWCF Coalition): The LWCF Coalition is focused on growing co-sponsorship of S. 1265 in the Senate, which amends the LWCF Act of 1965 to provide reliable authority and funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. We ended the year with 26 bipartisan co-sponsors! Besides targeting new Senators, supporters are urged to thank current co-sponsors, talk to target Senators about co-sponsoring, or increase positive messages about LWCF to your local and regional House members. The goal is to continue to engage groups from across the country to ensure we are urging Congress to fully fund LWCF permanently this year.
S. 1265 CURRENT COSPONSORS: Sen Baucus, Max [MT], Sen Bennet, Michael F. [CO], Sen Blumenthal, Richard [CT], Sen Boxer, Barbara [CA], Sen Brown, Scott P. [MA], Sen Burr, Richard [NC], Sen Cantwell, Maria [WA], Sen Coons, Christopher A. [DE], Sen Franken, Al [MN], Sen Gillibrand, Kirsten E. [NY], Sen Graham, Lindsey [SC], Sen Hagan, Kay [NC], Sen Kerry, John F. [MA], Sen Klobuchar, Amy [MN], Sen Lautenberg, Frank R. [NJ], Sen Lieberman, Joseph I. [CT], Sen Merkley, Jeff [OR], Sen Sanders, Bernard [VT], Sen Schumer, Charles E. [NY], Sen Shaheen, Jeanne [NH], Sen Stabenow, Debbie [MI], Sen Tester, Jon [MT], Sen Udall, Mark [CO], Sen Udall, Tom [NM], Sen Whitehouse, Sheldon [RI], Sen Wyden, Ron [OR]
Members to ASK TO COSPONSOR S. 1265: (NJ) Menendez, (PA) Casey, (SD) Johnson
Democratic Targets: Carper (DE), B. Nelson (FL), Mikulski (MD), Cardin (MD), Nelson (NE), Webb (VA), Warner (VA), Murray (WA), Rockefeller (WV), Manchin (WV)
Republican Targets: Chambliss (GA), Isakson (GA), Risch (ID), Crapo (ID), Kirk (IL), Lugar (IN), Snowe (ME), Collins (ME), Ayotte (NH), Portman (OH), Thune (SD)
December 19, 2011 (from Lindsey Levick, LWCF Coalition): We Need Your Help! Tell the Obama Administration to: Provide Full, Permanent and Dedicated Funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)! You can sign a Petition to the White House to ensure LWCF receives its funding! We need 25,000 individual signatures in 30 days for the White House to Take Action- and your vote COUNTS!
December 11, 2011 (from Lindsey Levick, LWCF Coalition): "A bipartisan effort is now underway to ensure that LWCF funding is preserved in any legislative proposals that address the disposition of OCS revenues. Please lend your support by signing on to the Dear Colleague letter being circulated by Reps. Chris Murphy (D-CT), Charlie Bass (R-NH), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Jim Gerlach (R-PA), and Jay Inslee (D-WA). The deadline for sign-on is December 16, 2011." Read more and take action...
October 24, 2011 (from Lindsey Levick, LWCF Coalition): By setting its FY12 appropriation at $350 million, the Senate has provided a meaningful level for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and reversed the draconian cuts proposed for FY12 by the House of Representatives. Last year, LWCF suffered a disproportionate cut of 33% in the FY11 Continuing Resolution, which resulted in unmet state and local parks needs and many landowners left in the lurch. While the FY12 level proposed by the Senate is only one-third of that proposed in the Administration's budget this year, this figure represents a significant endorsement of LWCF and a show of leadership by Chairman Reed, Ranking Member Murkowski, and the many Senators who care about this program-which has always had bipartisan support.
The LWCF Coalition will continue to work to ensure that the non-taxpayer funds specifically set aside from OCS receipts for this program are used as they were intended- for conservation purposes such as working lands easements, national parks, forests, refuges and other public lands as well as state and local parks. At every level, these investments are proven economic generators; the American outdoor recreation, conservation and historic preservation economy contributes $1.06 trillion annually to the U.S. economy and supports 9.4 million American jobs, according to a study released last week by the National Fish and Wildlife Federation.
Investing in LWCF at this level will mean that the most urgent state and local park recreation needs will be met, and some of the numerous existing landowner commitments will be honored. While $350 million won't address all of the many national, state, local and regionally-driven priorities across the country this year, this commitment leads in the right direction. We thank the Senate for listening to the diversity of voices across the nation calling for robust, consistent funding for LWCF. Sportsmen, industry leaders, conservationists, civil war buffs, historians, outdoor recreation business owners, forest owners, hikers, bikers, boaters and millions of other Americans value the tangible on-the-ground benefits of LWCF in their communities and to their economic success and are grateful for the Senate's leadership.
More on Land and Water Conservation Fund amendments in House FY 2012 spending bill (HR 2584) from the August 1 bulletin from Federal Parks & Recreation: "The big LWCF amendment would have eliminated all federal land acquisition. It was defeated by an unrecorded vote. Chief sponsor Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) would have lopped off all federal land acquisition money (the state side was already eliminated.) “Our Federal agencies have enough on their plate, and if we zero out these land acquisition programs, we can save a significant amount of money,” said Lamborn.
"But Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), ranking minority member of the House Appropriations subcommittee on Interior, said, “The amendment would exacerbate an already draconian cut - 78 percent cut - to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a program that is already paid for using a very small percentage of oil drilling receipts. I would hope that my colleagues and anybody that might be listening to this debate would understand that Land and Water Conservation Fund moneys are not taxpayer dollars. They come from the receipts from oil and gas drilling - drilling that is on publicly owned land.”
"The second LWCF amendment succeeded. It would increase federal land acquisition by $20 million by deducting the same $20 million from Interior Department overhead. It was approved on an unrecorded vote. The sponsor, Rep. Charlie Bass (R-N.H.), said, “We need to continue the program of land conservation, local recreation, and, yes, working forests. And a $68 million appropriation just plain doesn’t do it.”
"Although Moran supports LWCF, he opposed the amendment because it would draw money from the operation of the Interior Department. “Now, we couldn’t agree more that (LWCF) never should have been cut by 78 percent,” he said. “It should be restored. We have said that in our statement. We support amendments to restore it, but certainly not to take it from the ability of the Secretary of the Interior to collect the very revenues that the government needs and that the American people are owed.”
"The third LWCF amendment also succeeded. It would add $5 million to LWCF to be used for hunting and fishing access. The money would come from EPA’s Brownfields Restoration program. The amendment sponsor, Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.), said, “This funding would be used for projects that clearly and specifically improve access for hunting, fishing and other forms of outdoor recreation on these Federal public lands. Of the directed funds, $5 million would be redirected to make public lands public and provide much needed support for recreational access.”
"In addition Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) has prepared but has not yet offered a pro forma amendment that would guarantee LWCF $900 million per year, without further appropriation. Guaranteed funding is the Holy Grail of LWCF supporters, but it has zero chance of House acceptance." -- from Federal Parks & Recreation
July 26, 2011: The LWCF Coalition reports that "Congressman Broun (R-GA) has offered an amendment to eliminate all LWCF funding from the Interior Appropriations bill and puts the proceeds into the general deficit reduction account. This is very similar to the Lummis amendment from HR 1 and must be vigorously opposed. Though the timetable is uncertain on a vote/debate of this amendment, the Interior bill will be back on the floor for consideration this evening and we need to be prepared." Broun is a member of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. The LWCF Coalition asks supporters to defend funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund in the FY12 Interior Appropriations bill. The bill reduces LWCF to only $61.8 million from the authorized level of $900 million per year and is an 80% cut below the $301 million appropriated last year. Read more and learn how to take action...
June 28, 2011: Land and Water Conservation Fund bill (S. 1265) has been reintroduced: "A bill to amend the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 to provide consistent and reliable authority for, and for the funding of, the land and water conservation fund to maximize the effectiveness of the fund for future generations, and for other purposes."
June 21, 2011: Supporters of the Land and Water Conservation Fund are asking for groups and individuals to sign on to a support letter by June 27. The letter is designed to begin a conversation with Senate Majority Leader Reid and House Speaker Boehner that hopefully leads to his support of conservation funding in upcoming budget negotiations.
April 29, 2011: Please continue to reach out to urge members to sign onto the Dear Colleague Sign on Letter. Also see the targeting spreadsheet-- we currently have bipartisan support with 30+ signers. When the House debated and passed HR 1, we identified a number of freshmen Representatives on both sides of the aisle that are good targets for our LWCF outreach and also returning Representatives agreeing that zeroing out the program goes too far. The no votes are tracked on this spreadsheet and every one of them is now a solid target for us! (A quick count has informed me that there were more than FIFTY Representatives that had never worked with us in the past that voted against zeroing out the LWCF program) Please reach out to your members of Congress and urge them to sign onto our the Dear Colleague Sign on Letter! It is absolutely essential that we use this in district work period to get more Representatives signed on than we've ever had before. We have a highly motivated group of Champions working this from the Hill. In this fiscal climate, with all parties expressing the need for deep cuts across the board in spending, there's never been a more important time for us to shine and show just how good we are. The spreadsheet has all our most important targets highlighted in yellow! There are check boxes to identify whether they've signed on to past LWCF letters, voted no on the Lummis amendment, or both. (from Lindsey Levick, LWCF Coalition)
March 29, 2011: Land and Water Conservation Fund urgently needs your support to ensure strong and consistent funding for the next Continuing Resolution (CR’s)- being negotiated this week and up until April 8th.
February 1, 2011: Thanking LWCF Champs and Educating New Members
PAST LWCF FUNDING BILLS:
The Highline Canal Trail, funded over years with LWCF dollars
December 21, 2010: S. 303, America's Great Outdoors Act of 2010, would modify the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 (16 U.S.C. 460l–5). However on Dec. 22, 2010, Senator Reid cancelled his effort to pass the 110-bill Omnibus legislation this year. According to the Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition, this bill would create "permanent authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund." The Coalition believes this language "guarantees that LWCF will be available in the future while leaving specific decisions regarding funding levels and project needs to future Congresses." Read more...
S.2747, the Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act of 2009: The Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act of 2009, S.2747, was introduced on November 6, 2009 by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Senator Max Baucus (D-MT). This legislation is simple and straightforward: it would permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) which will otherwise expire in 2015, and make $900 million available annually to LWCF as dedicated funding. Read more...
H.R. 3534, the Consolidated Land, Energy and Aquatic Act of 2009: The Consolidated Land, Energy and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) Act, H.R. 3534, was introduced on September 8, 2009 by Representative Nick Rahall (D-WV), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee. While addressing a wide range of energy issues, including "an oil spill response," the bill’s Title IV provision would permanently authorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), making $900 million available annually to LWCF as dedicated funding. On July 30, 2010 fthe House voted 209-193 to pass the CLEAR Act, H.R. 3534, of which LWCF funding was a significant component.
Both legislative vehicles, S. 2747 and Title IV of H.R. 3534 are intended to finally fulfill the promise made decades ago for LWCF to provide a consistent and adequate source of ongoing federal investment in parks, forests, wildlife refuges, trails, recreation lands, and historical and cultural resources across the nation. Read more...
MORE RESOURCES FOR LWCF
LWCF Coalition Website (background information, case studies, legislative information, news, how to take action, and more)
LWCF info by State and graph of LWCF Funding and Offshore Energy Revenue from FY00 – FY09
2010 survey shows strong voter support for continued funding of the LWCF, with voters overwhelmingly in favor dedicating at least $900 million a year to the LWCF (pdf 635 kb)
Sample State information page:
Ways to take action and talking points (regarding this being a bipartisan program with bipartisan support):
National Recreation and Park Association’s "Full Funding for LWCF Fact Sheet"
Action Alert: Thanking LWCF Champs and Educating New Members, from The Wilderness Society
National Park Service LWCF Website: www.nps.gov/lwcf
NPS 2009 LWCF Annual Report: http://www.nps.gov/lwcf/2009_lwcf_annual%20_rpt.pdf
NPS 40-Year Anniversary Report (2004): http://www.nps.gov/ncrc/programs/lwcf/lwcf_04_rev.pdf
Interactive map of sampling of LWCF projects across the country from the Nature Conservancy:
Find your Congressional Representative based on your ZIP code: http://www.house.gov/zip/ZIP2Rep.html
Read more about current funding for trails, parks, outdoor recreation, and federal land management on the American Trails website: