ASLA supports protecting and maintaining funding for the Land and Water
Conservation Fund (LWCF). The LWCF program provides matching grants to states and local
governments for the acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation
areas and facilities. The program is intended to create and maintain a
nationwide legacy of high quality recreation areas and facilities and to
stimulate non-federal investments in the protection and maintenance of
recreation resources across the United States.
Landscape architects are often on the LWCF front lines, designing and
planning projects that protect our natural resources, our cultural and historic
resources, and stimulate local economies in communities across the country.
Background & Analysis
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was established by
Congress in 1965. The Act designated that a portion of receipts from offshore
oil and gas leases be placed into a fund annually for state and local conservation,
as well as for the protection of our national treasures, including parks,
forest and wildlife areas. LWCF has a broad-based coalition of support,
including the Trust for Public Land, National Parks and Recreation Association,
The Wilderness Society, and the Land Trust Alliance.
LWCF is authorized at $900 million annually, a level that has been
met only twice during the program's 40-year history. The program is divided into
two distinct funding pots: state grants and federal acquisition funds.
The "stateside" of LWCF is distributed to all 50 states,
DC and the territories by a formula based on population among other factors.
State grant funds can be used for park development and for acquisition of lands
and easements. State park directors solicit communities to apply for projects
and distribute funds to those worthy projects based on a scoring process. Click
here for a
list of the most recent state-by-state apportionments.
On the federal side, LWCF provides for national park, forest and
wildlife refuge and Bureau of Land Management area fee and easement
acquisitions. Each year, based on project demands from communities as well as
input from the federal land management agencies (NPS, USFS, FWS, BLM), the
President makes recommendations to Congress regarding funding for specific LWCF
projects. During congressional
consideration, these projects go through a rigorous Appropriations Committee
review process with much input from legislators representing project areas.
Given the intense competition among projects, funding is generally only
provided for those projects with universal support.
LWCF projects significantly contribute to our national
economy. The Outdoor Industry Association
estimates that hunting, fishing, camping, climbing, hiking, paddling,
back country skiing, mountain biking, wildlife viewing, and other activities
contribute a total of $646 billion annually to the economy, supporting 6.1
million jobs (1 of every 20 jobs in the U.S.)
Senator Max Baucus (MT) and Senator Richard Burr (NC) introduced S. 338 The Land and Water Conservation Fund of 2013 which would provide full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at its authorized level of $900 million.
Currently a bi-partisan group of 26 senators are co-sponsors.
The measure was introduced on February 14, 2013 and was referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources where it is awaiting further action.
ASLA Public Policies