The future of conservation funding is at a crossroads. With less than two months left in the Congressional session, sportsmen are looking for a legislative solution that finally fulfills a promise that's been unmet for too long - a promise Congress made 50 years ago to fund conservation through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
Since it was created, LWCF has had bi-partisan support as it is financed by revenues from off-shore oil and gas revenues rather than taxes. Yet every year congress diverts the majority of the $900 million that it is authorized to spend on conservation to non-conservation purposes, leaving a massive backlog of conservation needs. It’s time to put an end to this robbery and fund that which sportsmen depend on – public hunting and fishing access and quality fish and wildlife habitat.
Over the years LWCF has been used to create new wildlife refuges, purchase private in-holdings within otherwise contiguous blocks of public backcountry habitat and provide public access to otherwise inaccessible public lands and waters. Here's just a few such examples.
As congress makes necessarily difficult financial decisions for our country, it's imperative that they continue to fund what makes America great; free access to wild public lands.
It goes without saying that sportsmen stand to gain a great deal from LWCF. So, as congress works towards balancing a budget, please take a minute to remind your decision makers that sportsmen depend on the public access and quality habitat that LWCF provides. Full, dedicated funding of LWCF would be a historic step towards ensuring public access to quality fish and wildlife habitat for years to come.