Save the Land and Water Conservation Fund

Photo by Adrienne Wallner

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

We need 900 people in Wisconsin to write notes to Senator Tammy Baldwin, Senator Ron Johnson, and their Representatives in the House in the next 90 days. 

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), protects national parks, community parks, working forests and farmlands, fishing holes, and hunting grounds. In Wisconsin, LWCF is a vital source of support for the Ice Age Trail, and countless local park and trail projects around the state.

Unless Congress re-authorizes the LWCF by September 30, 2018, this vital land protection and recreation program will end.

Gathering Waters and Wisconsin's land trusts support the full funding and reauthorization of LWCF. This critical funding source protects land and waterways in Wisconsin and provides public access to many of these properties.

What difference does LWCF funding make? 

A great deal of difference. If you enjoy Wisconsin's beautiful scenery 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 LWCF has invested more than $215 million to protect many of the wild 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 recognize the names of some Wisconsin's nature destinations  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 of the National Wild and Scenic River System

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

If I support Land and Water Conservation 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 existence. The original 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 programs, leaving the fund in a critical position. 

Loss of funding will have state and national impact 

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

The Land and Water Conservation Fund also helps protect and maintain tourist areas such as national parks, scenic areas, trails, and historical 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 you do?

You can make a difference with three note cards and three stamps.

It will take you 15 minutes to write a note and make your voice heard.  (See samples here.)

Many voices delivering one message can make a lasting change. 

According to recent polling, 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 generations. 

There are four actions you can take today, to protect and manage protected lands tomorrow.

  1. You can write a note and make your voice heard. (See samples here.)
  2. You can add your name and contact information to the LWCF sign-on letter
  3. You can customize a Wisconsin-focused letter and send it to Tammy Baldwin, Ron Johnson, and your Representative in the House.
  4. 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 protect our land and water for tomorrow.

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