There are few sights as powerful as the movement of thousands of elk across the open plain, as intriguing as a large pack of wolves running silently through the deep forest, or as heartwarming as a grizzly mother and cubs fishing along a riverbank. These patterns of animal activities are critical to the survival of numerous species and are supported by the existence of habitat migration corridors - especially for large animals such as grizzly bears, elk, wolves, mule deer and other charismatic species in North America. These animals have great natural and cultural value, serving as barometers for larger ecosystem health and playing an important role in the traditions and economy of the West. But changing land use patterns and continued population growth and development across the West are threatening big-game and other large species, impacting winter range and migration corridors in sagebrush habitats and other ecosystems. In order to support sustainable populations, landscape-level conservation is required to stitch together a disjointed base of western public lands and prevent further fragmentation that impedes movement, restricts access to food sources, and prevents seasonal migration between summer and winter ranges and to vital breeding grounds.
On March 12, 2019, LWCF was permanently reauthorized as part of S. 47, the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act. What a huge, long-fought, and amazing victory, achieved by sweeping bipartisan margins in Congress! Major thanks are owed to all who helped make this success possible. Passage of the Dingell Act ensures that LWCF no longer faces the uncertainty of potential expiration, and that the unique structure and inflow of funds to LWCF is permanently protected. But there is still work to be done in order to guarantee the full promise of America’s most important conservation and recreation program, so now we are shifting our focus back to guaranteeing full, dedicated funding for LWCF.
Are you worried about the future of our public lands and the Land and Water Conservation Fund, but not sure what you can do? Calling your congressional delegation is one of the most powerful things we can do as individuals. You don’t need to be an expert on the issue, but the more people who call and talk about the importance of LWCF, the more likely your representative is to notice. It really does work!
Winter is an excellent time to get outdoors when you bundle up and embrace the snow! Whether you are sledding, skating, snowshoeing, skiing downhill or cross country, ice fishing, ice climbing, or the many other winter recreation sports, odds are you are on public lands protected by LWCF. Wondering if your favorite spot to mush has received LWCF funding? Here we list some of America’s best winter wonderLANDS, protected by LWCF.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has expired, so, what is next?
Our fight is definitely not over! In the coming weeks, the LWCF Coalition will be working with our partners across the country and champions on Capitol Hill to secure the future of LWCF on behalf of the places we love and all of the recreation and economic benefits it brings to the American people. Don’t forget, we have a $887 billion recreation economy that relies on access to our outdoors!
With lots of conversations about the future of the program, here is a quick update on the importance of authorization with full dedicated funding, where LWCF currently stands, and how you can get involved.
As warm weather sweeps across the country, our national parks, forests, state and local campgrounds, beaches, trails, and other outdoor hotspots fill up with Americans seeking fun in the sun. As part of our #SaveLWCF effort, we have compiled a list of some of our favorite places that have received LWCF funds. Wondering if your lakefront, campsite, fishing spot, or running path has received LWCF? Check out our interactive map to find LWCF dollars going into your favorite places and share your LWCF summer adventure on social media using #SaveLWCF and #LWCFsummer.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is not only used to protect our parks and trails, sportsmen’s access and wildlife habitat--it is also the best tool we have for preserving our nation’s treasured historical places. Among those historic sites are battlefields from the Revolutionary War and Civil War that not only defined our country’s independence and momentum towards freedom, but are also sites of unimaginable bravery and individual sacrifice, often the final resting place of countless patriotic soldiers.
"I recently found out that every single one of my favorite places has been protected by the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). I didn’t know this until I attended the Land Trust Alliance Rally in Denver, Colorado from October 26-28, 2017, where I visited the #SaveLWCF booth and attended the LWCF workshop. While I was there, the folks from the LWCF Coalition showed me a list of many of the national parks, forests, monuments, and historic sites funded by the LWCF; to my surprise, all my favorite vacation spots, weekend getaways, and hiking trails were part of a larger project funded by LWCF." Sarah Sanford, Graduate Student at Duke's Nicholas School for the Environment
Feeling stuffed after Thanksgiving? Grab your comfy pants and go outside for a post-feast hike to burn off some calories and enjoy the wonderful fall landscapes that this nation has to offer. On the Friday after Thanksgiving, we encourage Americans to give thanks for our public lands and #optoutside on one of our nation’s spectacular national trails, which provide unique access to our outdoors as well as health and economic benefits.