Don’t let politicians kill conservation’s bank account – High Country News

We find ourselves once again trying to save a very valuable resource to many smaller rural communities, the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Last year we also fought this battle. So please take a moment to read what this about, and send a letter to your representative asking to remember to save  it.

If you are under 50, you grew up in a country with city parks, zoos, tennis courts and basketball courts funded by the Land and Water Conservation Fund. If you camp, boat, hunt and fish, you probably use boat ramps and wildlife habitat secured with its money. The fund’s money has supported projects in 99 percent of counties in the United States.


I wrote to Rep. Kilmer this morning and received the following email reply:

Thank you for contacting me about the importance of supporting conservation of our lands and waters. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me.

Like you, one of the reasons I enjoy living in our region is because I value the richness of our environment. There wasn’t a summer of my childhood that didn’t involve going hiking in the Olympics or fishing with my dad and my brothers. Those experiences had a profound effect on me, and instilled in me the belief that these treasures are our birthright. We owe it to the generations that have come before and those that will come after – including to my two little girls – to protect the home that’s been left in our care.

One of the ways the federal government supports these efforts is through the Land and Water Conservation Fund.  Congress created the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) in 1964. It preserves, develops, and ensures access to outdoor recreation areas and facilities. It provides matching grants to help states leverage their own funds to provide outdoor recreation facilities for their communities. For example, through LCWF grants, the City of Bremerton enhanced Blueberry Park and protected seven acres of wetlands. In Port Angeles, the fund contributed to building a new playground in Shane Park (the park where I played soccer – and lost a lot of games – as a kid). I support this grant program that has helped our region and people across Washington state to enjoy fun, safe recreational facilities and preserve and protect public lands.

Rep. Raul Grijalva (Ariz.) introduced H.R. 502, to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund. I support this legislation and am proud to be a cosponsor. I feel strongly that this program should be made permanent and should be fully funded.

Since its introduction,the bill has been referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources where it awaits further action. I am hopeful that the Committee will hold a hearing on it soon so that we can learn more about the importance of the work funded by the LWCF.

Please know that as a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, I will continue to be a vocal advocate for the conservation of our lands and waters. We’ve got a lot of work to do to advance these important priorities.

I encourage you to continue to share your views with me on this topic or any other issue. Thank you for reaching out. It is an honor to serve as your representative.


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