Created by Congress 50 year ago, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is a bipartisan commitment to safeguard our sporting heritage by conserving lands with high wildlife habitat value, important water resources that support healthy fisheries, and secure access for recreational opportunities like hunting and fishing that fuel a $646-billion outdoor recreation economy.
By utilizing revenues from the depletion of one natural resource - offshore oil and gas - to support the conservation of another precious resource - our land and water, LWCF doesn’t burden tax payers to make critical investments in partnership with state and local efforts to bolster America's national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, national trails, and BLM areas. Here's just a small taste of what some of these LWCF-funded Bureau of Land Management projects and Fish & Wildlife Service projects look like fisheries, and secure access for recreational opportunities like hunting and fishing that fuel a $646-billion outdoor recreation economy.
This successful model works by providing matching grants to leverage investments from states and local governments to provide financial support for shared federal land conservation strategies and for tools like voluntary conservation easements that permanently secure irreplaceable lands that improve outdoor recreation areas. The program is intended to create and maintain a nationwide legacy of high quality recreation areas and facilities and to stimulate non-federal investments in the protection and maintenance of recreation resources across the United States.
Despite its success and widespread bi-partisan support, the future of the Land and Water Conservation Fund is in jeopardy and must be reauthorized by Congress before the end of September 2015. Sportsmen and women depend on the public hunting and fishing access and quality fishing and wildlife habitat that the Land and Water Conservation Fund has provided for generations. Now is the time to reauthorize and fully fund this important program for future generations of America’s hunters and anglers as well.