House approves full funding for Land and Water Conservation Fund
The U.S. House of Representatives has approved full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
In an era of bleak funding news, a potential bright light has appeared. The U.S. House of Representatives has approved full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
The LWCF was established in 1964 to provide funds for the purchase of lands and waterways, as well as easements across lands for public benefit.
This year, for only the third time in its 46 year history, it may receive its full $900 million authorization. In fact, that authorization may be made permanent. The House passed the CLEAR Act (HR 3534) on July 30, as a partial response to the Gulf Oil spill. Section 207 calls for permanent full authorization of LWCF.
That would be great news for hikers across the state. Among the projects awaiting approval for LWCF dollars is a request by the Pacific Crest Trail Association to purchase land along the Pacific Crest Trail, including sections that run through Plum Creek timberlands south of I-90.
In the past, LWCF has been used to preserve 31,000 acres of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.
LWCF monies have also been used to purchase critical recreation and habitat lands in the checkerboard by the Cascades Conservation Partnership and by the National Park Service, which helped to fill in gaps in North Cascades National Park. And states can apply for state-side LWCF funds to preserve open space. Here is an interesting map showing the location of LWCF dollars applied for across the country.
The CLEAR Act has been referred to the Senate, where it will be taken up upon their return from their August recess. We encourage you to take a moment and call Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and encourage them to support full funding for LWCF. Let them know how important our wild landscapes are to you as a hiker and urge them to commit the funding this important program in perpetuity. You can reach them via the Capital Switchboard at (202)224-3121.