Cantwell, Reichert, and Jewell Unite for Land and Water Conservation Fund

This week key political leaders spoke up for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Their leadership comes as Congress decides on a bill that would secure the program for perpetuity.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
July 21, 2016

Gas Works Park was the site of a gathering calling for the permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.  Supporters whooped and hollered as Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash) listed the event’s participants, turning to the second page of supporters and exclaiming, “Wow, I guess there’s a lot of people in the Northwest who care about wilderness!”  

Cantwell had her audience pegged. The Mountaineers, and so many in the greater outdoor recreation and conservation community, have advocated tirelessly for the LWCF – a program that’s helped protect three of Washington’s national parks, the Alpine Lake Wilderness, Mt. Si, and even city parks like Magnuson and Gas Works.

The LWCF was created in 1965 with overwhelming bipartisan support to take a small portion of the revenue from offshore oil and gas drilling and put it towards conservation. Since then, it’s been a catalyst for outdoor spaces across the nation – providing funds and matching grants to federal, state and local governments.

The program continues to have signficant bipartisan support, demonstrated as Cantwell was joined at the podium by Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash, and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell as well as long-time Mountaineers member and first American on Everest, Jim Whittaker. Dan Nordstrom, CEO of Seattle-based Outdoor Research and Mountaineers Advisory Council member, joined to the group to highlight how LWCF helps drive the recreation economy.

The event comes at a pivotal time for the federal land program. After 50 years of conservation work, Congress let the program expire last September. A couple months later, they pulled off a temporary reauthorization.

Now, a proposed energy bill could secure the program once and for all. The bill, which contains permanent reauthorization as part of its bundle, passed the Senate – thanks in large part to Sen. Cantwell. The next step is approval in the house, where once again one of Washington’s own, Rep. Reichert, will lead the way.

“The proof is in the pudding – we are all here together. Things can be accomplished in Congress when you have people who are willing and committed to getting good things done for the people of Washington state and across the country.”              - Rep. Reichert, a co-sponsor of the legislation

We applaud the conservation work of Cantwell, Reichert, and Jewell. At this time last year, we asked our readers to contact their legislators and share their support of the LWCF. Your work didn’t go unnoticed – these legislators have picked up the baton and are working for permanent reauthorization for this important program.

Thanks to Thomas O’Keefe, Mountaineers Advisory Council member and American Whitewater NW Stewardship Director, for the photos!