Friday, June 24, 2011

Land and Water Conservation Fund suffers 33% cut despite Trust for Public Land Study showing every $1 invested returned $4 in economic value 
Congress approved the Fiscal Year 2011 federal budget in April, significantly cutting funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the country’s premiere federal program for protecting lands for all Americans. Supported by offshore oil and gas leasing revenues – not taxpayers’ dollars – the LWCF ensures all Americans have access to local community parks and playgrounds and the vast expanses of federal public lands.
In the final budget agreement, LWCF is funded at $301 million, a 33% cut from the FY10 enacted level. Programs that ensure protection of working forests and ranches, threatened and endangered species habitat, access for sportsmen and recreationists, and our national parks, wildlife refuges, forests and other public lands are all impacted by these cuts.

“This 33 percent reduction from FY 10 enacted levels is not only a disproportionate cut to a very successful program but means that LWCF funds have been diverted from their intended and authorized purposes,” said Will Rogers, President of The Trust for Public Land. “If we are serious about creating jobs and getting the economy back on track, conservation spending on LWCF is not only a wise, but an essential investment that reaps immediate and tangible benefits in our communities across the tourism, service and outdoor recreation sectors.”
The outdoor industry is one of America’s fastest growing sectors. In addition to contributing more than $730 billion to the American economy each year, it generates $88 billion in annual state and federal tax revenue. More than 6.5 million American jobs are supported by the active outdoor recreation economy.

The reduced funding levels for LWCF contained in this final budget agreement means that a host of willing-seller, critically needed and locally driven land conservation and outdoor recreation projects, will not get done this year. Some will be lost forever, as willing-seller landowners cannot be expected to wait for Congress to act.

Created by Congress in 1965, LWCF was a bipartisan commitment to safeguard natural areas, water resources and our cultural heritage, and to provide recreation opportunities to all Americans. National parks like Rocky Mountain and the Great Smoky Mountains, as well as national wildlife refuges, national forests, Civil War battlefields, cultural and historic sites, rivers and lakes, working ranches and forests, community parks, trails, and ball fields in every one of our 50 states are permanently protected for Americans to enjoy thanks to federal funds from LWCF.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition is an informal partnership working together to support full and dedicated funding for LWCF. The coalition includes hundreds of local, state and national business, recreation, private landowner and conservation organizations across the country.
On November 15, 2010 The Trust for Public Land released an analysis of the return on the investment of LWCF dollars for federal land acquisition by the Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, and National Park Service for a sample of sixteen federal units that received LWCF funding between 1998 and 2009. TPL analyzed the past (i.e., 1998 to 2009) and likely future (i.e., over the next ten years) economic returns generated from LWCF spending on the sample federal units and found that every $1 invested returns $4 in economic value over this time period from natural resource goods and services alone. In addition to providing natural goods and services, these federal lands are key to local recreation and tourism industries. TPL found that approximately 10.6 million people visit these sixteen federal units each year and spend $511 million in the surrounding local communities. (See

Trust For Public Land
Press Releases dated April 15, 2011 and November 15, 2010

No comments:

Post a Comment