20 Day Left to Act for Land and Water Conservation Fund

By John Rumpler
Environmental Policy Analyst

September 10, 2015 marks the 20 day countdown for the re-authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. If Congress doesn’t act by September 30th, our nation’s premier conservation program will stall.

Washington boasts a multitude of iconic parks and wilderness areas, helping it live up to the well-deserved nickname of the Evergreen State. It’s difficult to imagine Washington without Mt. Rainier, the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, or name your favorite neighborhood park. Mine include Discovery Park and Gas Works.

While we take the beauty and serenity these places have to offer for granted, in reality, they wouldn’t exist without a federal program called the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The LWCF was signed into law in 1964 after it was introduced to Congress by Washington Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson, receiving overwhelming bipartisan support. But, after 50 years of successful care and conservation of some of our most special places, the LWCF could expire, if Congress doesn’t act by September 30.

Our Senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, have been champions of the LWCF, and have worked hard to continue the legacy established by Senator Jackson. They have both been outspoken in acknowledging the importance of investing in parks, trails, and forests so that they can be enjoyed and appreciated by future generations. And the LWCF has broad bi-partisan support. Earlier this year, key committee chair Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), together with ranking member and our own Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wa.), introduced legislation to renew the Land and Water Conservation Fund before it expires.

Over the past few weeks, Environment Washington volunteers have ventured into LWCF-funded parks in the Seattle area to discuss the importance of this program with everyday park-goers. They have collected signatures on banners, which will be delivered to Senators Cantwell and Murray, thanking them for their support of the LWCF. Park visitors we’ve spoken with have been overwhelmingly supportive – even shocked that a program so rich and vital to our natural heritage would be threatened by Congressional inaction.

We can’t afford to lose this national conservation program. Join us in working to make sure that the Land and Water Conservation Fund is re-authorized and fully funded before September 30. Here are a couple simple actions you can take:

  • Call your U.S. Representative and ask them to support the re-authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund,
  • Call Senator Murray at (202) 224-2621 and Maria Cantwell at (202) 224-3441 thanking them for their leadership,
  • Post on Twitter/Facebook: @PattyMurray and @SenatorCantwell thank you for your leadership in the fight to preserve the #LWCF #Outdoors4All.

Here in Washington we’re fortunate to call some of the most spectacular and natural landscapes in the country part of our home. In addition to these tremendous natural assets, thousands of parks and lands across the country have been protected by the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Share this message, take action, and help us to ensure that our national conservation heritage is continued through Congress’ swift action to re-authorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund.