Today, there’s big news that benefits everyone who loves getting outside, whether it’s to the backcountry or your local city park.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund, hailed as America’s best conservation program, will be reauthorized this week after expiring at the end of September. In its 50-year history, LWCF has helped build trails, parks, trailheads, and river put-ins, and other recreational facilities in all 50 states. If you love to play outside you have probably benefited from LWCF. Since its expiration in September, the outdoor recreation community and the larger conservation community have been raising a ruckus with policymakers about reauthorizing the fund.
Winter Wildlands Alliance members from across the country called and wrote their representatives and visited DC to tell policymakers why the Land and Water Conservation Fund matters. Thanks to the outpouring from our community and others, Congress included reauthorization of the program in its omnibus bill. In an incredibly tough political environment, we can count this as a huge success.
The program was reauthorized for 3 years at $450 million. The good news is that $450 million is 50% more than the fund has gotten in the last few years. Of course, there is (always) more work to be done. We had hoped for permanent reauthorization at $900 million. This means that there is more to do to get the program permanently reauthorized but this is a huge first step.
Every letter, call, and office visit ensured that this program stayed on Congress’s radar, and we have you to thank for that. With so much at stake, you made sure that Congress couldn’t afford to leave LWCF on the table. Without your help educating your representatives and making your priorities known, LWCF never would have made it through the gauntlet. There were an incredible number of other issues vying for a spot in the omnibus, so it’s a huge win that LWCF made it through.
To say we are stoked is an understatement.