Action Alert! Support Full Funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund

Last year, the Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was permanently reauthorized as part of the passage of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act. The fund is now one step away from full and permanent funding and needs your help!
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
March 22, 2020
Action Alert! Support Full Funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund
Jill Pelzel

A week ago, the Senate introduced a once-in-a-lifetime public lands funding package called the Great American Outdoors Act that includes permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This package gives us an incredible opportunity to permanently better fund our public lands. Join us in telling Congress to support full and permanent funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund to support our public lands long-term.


Last spring, we celebrated the permanent reauthorization of one of America’s best conservation programs, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). This fund uses a portion of royalties from offshore oil and gas leasing to pay for conservation and recreation priorities. After a long fight that included efforts from our members, coalition partners, and other public lands and outdoor recreation champions, LWCF was permanently reauthorized in the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act. However, that doesn’t mean that the LWCF is automatically fully funded each year. That job is up to congress, resulting in a constant fight over funding.

Then in early March of this year, the White House publicly called for a “bill that fully and permanently funds the LWCF and restores our National Parks.”

The Senate immediately reacted by introducing and passing the Great American Outdoors Act, combining permanent funding for the Land Water Conservation Fund  and the Restore our Parks Act (ROPA). Not only will this package ensure $900 million will go to LWCF projects each year, it provides funding for up to $1.9 billion available for public lands deferred maintenance. 

And there is more! Thanks to a lot of work from our partners at Outdoor Alliance, American Whitewater, and others, the act now also includes an additional $600 million per year to address the maintenance backlog in our National Forests, BLM lands, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Indian Education. 

The Impacts of LWCF and ROPA

Both the LWCF and ROPA and key pieces of legislation to fund and protect the places we play. The LWCF provides crucial funding to create parks, trails, and recreation infrastructure around the country. Although LWCF is authorized to receive $900 million each year, none of that funding is guaranteed, so in practice it receives approximately half that and the rest of the funds are diverted to other purposes. The Great American Outdoors Act will guarantee full funding for LWCF each year.

As we know, years of inadequate funding by Congress has led to a maintenance backlog in National Parks, National Forests, and other public lands we enjoy. ROPA will provide funding of up to $1.9 billion every year for the purposes of deferred maintenance on National Parks, National Forests, BLM lands, and more.

What’s next?

It is now up to Congress to pass the Great American Outdoors Act, and they need to hear from you on the importance of adequately funding public lands. It’s incredibly important that we capitalize on this momentum and apply pressure to Congress to pass this package. Please join us in calling on our legislators to get this over the finish line. 


Main image by Jill Pelzel.

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