Land and Water Conservation Fund

Photo by Adrienne Wallner

Without your voice, the Land And Water Conservation Fund my be history. 

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), protects national parks, community parks, working forests and farmlands, fishing holdes, and hunting grounds. 

Unless Congress passes bills H.R. 502, S. 569 and S. 896 to re-authroize funding and protect the Land And Water Conservation Fund now and in the future, this vital land protection and recreation program will end on September 30, 2018.

Gathering Waters supports the full funding and reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This cricital funding source protects land and waterways in Wisconsinsin and provide public access to many of these properties.

What difference does LWCF funding make? 

A great deal of difference. If you enjoy Wisconsin's beautiful scenary or you like to hunt, fish, hike, swim, or drink clean water in the Badger State, you probably have enjoyed some of the fruits of LCWF funding.

In its 52-year history, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has invested more than $215 million to protect many of the wilderness spaces and scenic places Wisconsinites and tourist enjoy. 

Not only does the Land and Water Conservation Fund provide monies to protect land, but it also provides funding for maintenance to keep areas open to the public. You may rocgonize the names of some Wisconsin's nature destiinations  funded part by the LWCF. 

  • Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
  • Central Sands Pine Forest
  • Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
  • Chippewa Flowage Forest Legacy project
  • Devil's Lake State Park
  • Fairfield Marsh Wetlands 
  • High Cliff State Park
  • Ice Age Trail National Scenic Trail
  • Iron River Fish Hatchery
  • Lower St. Croix National Scenic Riverway
  • North Country National Scenic Trail
  • St. Croix National Scenic Riverway
  • Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge
  • Whittlesey Creek National Wildlife Refuge
  • Wolf River, part to the National Wild and Scenic River System


These places help support Wisocnsin's $17.9 billion outdoor recreation industry and help generate 168,000 jobs. The poeple who live in Wisocnsin realize quite a return on the investment of the LWCF. 

If I support Land and Water Conservvation Fund won't my taxes go up?

No. Since the fund began, a small portion of offshore oil and gas drilling fees have been set aside to ensure the fund's existance. The orignal intent was to balance the impact of oil and gas production with the protection of land and water in other natural areas. 

However, in recent years the $900 million targeted for the LWCF has been diverted to other prorams, leavig the fund in a critical position. 

Loss of funding will have state and national impact 

Losing funding from the Land Water Conseration Fund will not only have a negative impact on Wisconsin, it may jeapordize safe, public access to other well-known places across America.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund also helps protect and maintian tourist areas such as national parks, scenic areas, trails, and hisotrial sites, such as:

  •  Appalachian National Scenic Trail
  • Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
  • Catawba Falls
  • Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area
  • ET Ranch
  • Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park
  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Grand Teton National Park
  • Green Mountian National Forest 
  • Redwoods and Joshua Trees of California
  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Tenderfoot Creek, Lewis and Clark National Forest, and many more. 

Every state in the nation has a destination sport that depends on funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

So, what can we do?

We can make our voices heard. 

Many voices delivering one message can make a lasting change. 

According to information published by The Nature Conservancy, more than 85 percent of Americans support full funding and reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. 

And, nine out of 10 voters are opposed to the funds set aside for LWCF being diverted to other areas in the future. 

Right now, there are bills before the House of Representatives (H.R. 502) and the Senate (S. 569 and S896), which would reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund in 2018, and protect it in the future. 

We need to let our Senators and Representatives know that we want the Land and Water Conservation Fund restored to full funding and protected in the future. 

It's a win for our country, a win for our state, and a win for our future.

We need your help to make it happen. 

A few minutes of your time can make a difference that will last a lifetime for future gnereations. 

There are three actions you can take today, to protect and mangage protected lands tomorrow.

  1. You can add your name and contact information to the LWCF sign-on letter. 
  2. You can customize a Wisconsin-focused letter and send it to Tammy Baldwin, Ron Johnson, and your Representative in the House.
  3. You can share this information with your friends and family across the country and ask them to contact their lawmakers to reauthorize the fund. 

We all need the Land and Water Conservation Fund to continue so we can enjoy the beautiful, wild, and historic places our state and our country have to offer. 

Please join us today to proctect our land and water for tomorrow.