Forests Forever

Restore • Reinhabit • Re-enchant

Effective conservation fund dies, Congress must bring it back

On Sept. 30, 2018, American conservation took a momentous backward step when the Republican-controlled Congress, with strong backing by the Trump administration, allowed the popular and successful Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to lapse without reauthorization.

Established in 1964, the LWCF has provided—at no cost to U.S. taxpayers—millions of dollars for conservation, land acquisition, park access, infrastructure improvements, and much more.

But in December 2015 Congress struck a deal to reauthorize the LWCF for just three more years—a deadline that finally ran out this fall.

Fund expenditures have improved the quality of life for Americans in all 50 states in over 40,000 projects at every level. The program has been primarily funded from royalties on offshore oil and gas drilling projects.

National parks and forests, wildlife refuges, trails and local parks and the communities near them all stand to gain from a healthy and permanent LWCF.

The overwhelmingly popular and effective fund still can, and must, not only be renewed but also permanently authorized.

For more than five decades the LWCF helped create a wide array of outdoor recreation opportunities, from beloved neighborhood parks to wild backcountry areas and the trails that connect them, all adding immeasurable richness and wealth to the United States.

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  • Here's a recent San Francisco Chronicle update on the demise of the LWCF, and the effort needed to recover it in the next Congress.

Forests Forever:
Their Ecology, Restoration, and Protection
John J. Berger

from Forests Forever Foundation
and the Center for American Places