"The Land and Water Conservation Fund is critically important to the American economy and our way of life. I support legislation that will guarantee full funding for this program. The livelihoods of many Americans and the health of our land and water depend on it."

- Jon Fosgitt, forester
Cold Springs Forestry,
Michigan

 

 

 

Conservation Leaders React to Trump Administration Plan to Slash America’s Most Important Conservation and Recreation Program
 
WASHINGTON, DC – The Trump Administration’s budget framework released today proposed a drastic reduction in funding for America’s irreplaceable natural resources, specifically targeting  America’s most important conservation and outdoor recreation program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).  Conservation leaders from the LWCF Coalition reacted to the Trump administration’s reckless budget proposal, which jeopardizes our national parks and puts all of America’s public lands at risk.  
“The Administration’s extreme proposal to wipe out the funding that protects our national parks and other national lands is completely out of step with America’s values,” said Will Rogers, President of the Trust for Public Land.  “The conservation of our national parks and outdoor heritage has always been an area of bipartisan agreement and overwhelming public support.  Our public lands are a defining aspect of our national character – providing access for people to hunt, fish, hike, camp, experience the incomparable American landscape, and participate in our robust outdoor recreation economy.  This harmful budget proposal will pull the rug out from under landowners and communities alike.  Conservationists and outdoor enthusiasts across the country must speak out and oppose this attack on America’s public lands.”   
 
The Administration’s budget proposes an unsustainable twelve percent cut to already-underfunded public land management and protection budgets.  Moreover, it makes clear that some essential programs would be hit with far bigger reductions that would have devastating, irreversible consequences.  The proposed cuts to LWCF would virtually eliminate funding to protect national parks, battlefields, and other national lands, and would frustrate efforts to secure public access for sportsmen and recreationists. For more than 50 years, these programs have delivered on-the-ground conservation achievements to every state in the union and have provided particularly necessary benefits to rural America and the small communities that depend upon the hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation economy for economic development.
 
Recent LWCF funding has secured vital protections and access for Grand Teton and Rocky Mountain National Parks, Gettysburg National Military Park, and other iconic American places.  Critical now-or-never needs remain all across the country, including key sites along the Appalachian Trail, Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii, and Montana’s Lolo National Forest.    
 
“Cuts of this magnitude to LWCF would do real, irreversible damage to the national parks and public lands that Americans care so deeply about and depend on for close-to-home outdoor recreation,” said Jamie Williams, the President of the Wilderness Society.  “Moreover, LWCF is not funded by taxpayer dollars but from fees collected from offshore oil and gas extraction.  These cuts would siphon off dedicated conservation dollars for unrelated spending, breaking a 50-year-old promise to the American people that the royalties generated from offshore oil and gas drilling are reinvested into protecting our National Parks, providing hunting and fishing access, trails and open spaces.”  
 
“LWCF cuts would hit rural America, sportsmen, anglers and the outdoor recreation economy especially hard,” said Mark Tercek, President of The Nature Conservancy.  “LWCF leverages four dollars in private capital for every conservation dollar invested.  Hunting, fishing, outdoor recreation, conservation and historic preservation activities support 9.4 million jobs and contribute more than a trillion dollars annually to the U.S. economy.”   
 
It is important to remember that budget proposals are only that: proposals.  The LWCF Coalition will continue to work with policymakers in Congress and the administration who grasp the importance of continuing to reinvest royalties from offshore energy development into lasting natural infrastructure: our land, outdoor recreation economy, access to hunting and angling opportunities, water resources, and the history and culture of our great nation. 
 
LWCF is overwhelmingly popular with the American people and has maintained broad bipartisan support over its half century history of successful, locally-driven conservation.  Last year, a supermajority of 85 Senators voted to permanently secure LWCF for every future generation.  It was the first vote in history by either the House or the Senate to make the landmark conservation law permanent.  In September of 2015, Congress temporarily allowed the program’s authorization to expire.  After a massive outcry, it was reauthorized for three additional years at the end of 2015.