Land & Water Conservation Fund Reauthorized!

A three-year renewal for The Land and Water Conservation Fund has been included in Congress's recent budget package, with $150 million more in funding for 2016!
Katherine Hollis Katherine Hollis
December 16, 2015
Land & Water Conservation Fund Reauthorized!

We've been talking about the Land and Water Conservation Fund since last spring AND we finally have big news to share:

The Land and Water Conservation Fund will be reauthorized!

Hailed as America’s best conservation program, the LWCF has helped build trails, parks, river put-ins, trailheads, and access to climbing areas in 50 states, including many iconic and important places here in the PNW. If you love to ski, hike, climb, bike, picnic, camp, photograph, or paddle, you have probably benefitted from LWCF. Since its expiration in September, the outdoor recreation community and the larger conservation community have been raising a ruckus with policymakers about reauthorizing the fund. 

The LWCF made it into the government’s year-end budget bill, which means the program will be renewed!  The omnibus bill packages a number of regular appropriation bills into one big bill to be voted. This week's bill  includes a three-year reauthorization of program, and funds the program at $450 million for fiscal year 2016, a significant increase from the current funding level of just over $300 million.

While you might hear murmurs of frustration that the program wasn’t permanently reauthorized, we are stoked! After Congress allowed the program to expire in September, getting the LWCF into the package - at all - was less than a 50-50 proposition.  We feel this outcome is very positive, and want to THANK YOU for supporting this issue.

Our dedicated community of members: 

  • Sent 375 emails to representatives calling for #LWCF reauthorization.
  • 10 of you that live in Congressman Reichert’s (a significant player in this year-end budget work) contacted him directly.
  • Traveled to Washington DC in September and met with all of the Washington State delegation on this issue.
  • A whole lot of you chose to learn about this issue – we had a 40% ‘click rate’ on our LWCF blogs. That’s crazy-high. Thank you for taking the time to learn.
  • Wrote moving stories about why you love public lands.

Thanks to this outpouring from our community and others - like our partners at Outdoor Alliance, which helps us amplify the voice of human-powered recreationists - Congress included reauthorization of LWCF in its omnibus bill.  LWCF needed its supporters to be a squeaky wheel to the ears of Congress, and we did that. In an incredibly tough political environment, we can count this as a huge success. 

Your calls, tweet, letters, and our organizational relationships with lawmakers ensured that this program stayed on Congress’s radar, and we have you to thank for that.

LWCF reauthorization is big news and a cause for celebration!

 Keep up the momentum with an email or tweet about #LCWF and don't forget to tag The Mountaineers  @MountaineersOrg 

You can thank members of the Washington Delegation who supported LWCF reauthorization:

Both Senators were vocal supporters (Cantwell introduced legislation calling for permanent reauthorization), as well as the following Congressmen/women: DelBene; Kilmer; Larsen; Reichert (you can find out who your congressperson is here). If you are so moved, a simple note of thanks makes a big difference – know it will be read by their offices.

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Eric Linxweiler
Eric Linxweiler says:
Dec 18, 2015 09:03 AM

This is awesome work! And in an era of divided politics, it clearly shows that supporting the outdoors is not a partisan issue - it's an American one.

Thanks for your leadership! Now, how can we thank our lawmakers for reauthorizing this important fund?

Katherine Hollis
Katherine Hollis says:
Dec 21, 2015 10:39 AM

Great points, Eric! We updated the blog to include links for contacting members of the Washington State delegation who supported LWCF reauthorization.