Speak Up to Save the Land and Water Conservation Fund

LWCF helped make it possible for Save the Redwoods League to protect part of the Prairie Creek corridor and add the land to Redwood National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Photo by Max Forster
LWCF helped make it possible for Save the Redwoods League to protect part of the Prairie Creek corridor and add the land to Redwood National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Photo by Max Forster
Redwood National Park, Muir Woods National Monument, and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks — over the last five decades the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) helped protect them all. From these world renowned jewels of the national park system to our redwood state parks and local reserves, LWCF has provided critical funding for the League and many others to safeguard the lands we all love. Despite its many conservation successes and its broad, bipartisan support, this program has only received full appropriation from Congress once in its 50-year history, and next year, LWCF could expire completely.

We need your help to tell Members of Congress to support LWCF and renew the program before it ends in September 2018. (external link)

When LWCF was created in 1964, it represented a promise and a commitment to safeguard America’s natural areas, water resources, and cultural heritage, while providing recreation opportunities for everyone. To fulfill that promise, a portion of federal revenue earned from offshore oil leases in public waters — not taxpayer dollars — would be used to create local parks, protect and clean our waterways, connect lands for wildlife, build public trails and boat launches, and much more. Since LWCF’s start, it had the potential to provide $900 million each year from that revenue to fund conservation projects across the country. In reality, more than $20 billion in potential funding was diverted elsewhere over the last 50 years, but by leveraging the funding distributed through LWCF, many of our most beloved parks were saved and expanded.

In total, California has received $2.4 billion from LWCF over the last 50 years and, in turn, this program has become vital for our state’s economy. It boosts outdoor recreation opportunities, which support over 691,000 jobs throughout the state and generates $92 billion in consumer spending each year. The program also delivers on-the-ground conservation results, protecting our precious natural resources, treasured parks, and incredible wildlands. These results are especially significant for our rural and small communities, which depend heavily on outdoor recreation and tourism.

LWCF’s successes are wide-reaching from California’s redwood forests to the Appalachian Trail, and every state in between. To honor this 50-year conservation legacy and the promise that started it all, Save the Redwoods League is working with a broad coalition of conservation groups, sportsmen, outdoor industry leaders, and local communities to urge Congress to support LWCF and move to reauthorize it next year.

Reauthorization of LWCF would directly affect the League’s ability to transfer a critical redwood property to the Bureau of Land Management’s Headwaters Forest Reserve. We acquired the property to add to the Reserve, to protect this redwood landscape and allow for a new trailhead and improved public access to the ancient forest.

Please join us in helping this vitally important conservation program. Call or write to your Member of Congress (external link) and let them know how much you value your public lands, wilderness areas, and parks. Let them know that you would like LWCF to be reauthorized and fully funded. Your voice can make all the difference.

Here are some tips and talking points:

  1. Introduce yourself. Let your representative know where you are from and why you are reaching out.
  2. Mention your personal connection to the parks and waterways protected by the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
  3. Consider sharing any of the talking points below that resonate with you.
  4. Ask your Member of Congress to support the permanent reauthorization of LWCF and say that you’d like to see it fully funded.
  5. Be sure to thank the person you are speaking to and for passing on your concerns.

Talking Points:

  • I support the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and I would like to see Congress continue to support the use of royalties from offshore energy development for conservation and recreation as intended when LWCF was first created.
  • If LWCF expires or proposed budget cuts to the program become law, expanded hunting and fishing access will remain closed to the public and hiking, biking, climbing, and paddling routes will become overcrowded or left vulnerable to development. America’s robust recreation economy depends on our public lands, that generate $887 billion in consumer spending each year and support 7.6 million jobs throughout the U.S.
  • The federal government through LWCF has long been a partner in creating urban parks across the country, particularly through state-side grants. LWCF has funded playgrounds, ball fields, and neighborhood parks, providing close-to-home recreation for millions of American families. I support LWCF and would like to see more funding and efforts like this in my community.
  • Bipartisan support for LWCF in Congress has been strong and consistent for over half a century. Allowing LWCF to expire or approving budget cuts for this program would go against the wishes of a majority in both the House and Senate, as well as citizens across the country like me.
  • Allowing LWCF to expire or to be under-funded, will hurt both urban and rural communities in every state. I hope you will stand up and defend our most important conservation and recreation program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Spread the Word

You can also help us raise awareness for LWCF, the most successful conservation program in the U.S. Share pictures of your trips to our redwood forests, national parks, and beloved open spaces on social media and tag @SaveTheRedwoods. If you’ve visited any of the parks below, post your images with the hashtag #SaveLWCF. We encourage you to share your stories of hiking, biking, camping, and fishing and tell your friends how we can all help save the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Redwood Parks Protected by LWCF:

  • Redwood National Park
  • Muir Woods National Monument and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area
  • Headwaters Forest Reserve
  • John Muir National Historic Site
  • Tahoe National Forest
  • Mendocino National Forest
  • Sequoia National Forest
  • Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
  • Shasta-Trinity National Forest
  • Six Rivers National Forest
  • Ventana Wilderness

About the author

President and Chief Enthusiast for the Outdoors (CEO) of Save the Redwoods League, Sam brings more than 25 years of experience in overseeing land conservation programs from the remote wilderness to the inner city.

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