LWCF Celebrates 50th Anniversary - Report Shows Program's Success

On a recent cross-country tour Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell helped celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and promoted the successes of the program. Jewell touted LWCF, stating, “Over the past 50 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has served as one of the most effective tools for conservation, outdoor recreation, and economic growth in local communities; however, it is set to expire next year without action from Congress....The program has re-invested a small portion of revenues from offshore oil and gas development into projects in nearly every county in America, ensuring that families have access to public, open spaces.”

Signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in September of 1964, the
LWCF can be credited with the conservation of iconic landscapes in every state across America and is responsible for the creation and preservation of state and local conservation projects. In fact, 50 years after the program’s inception, more than 40,000 state and local outdoor park and recreation projects – playgrounds, urban parks, and sports fields – have been created through LWCF funds. Additionally, LWCF has helped protect iconic national parks, wildlife areas, and cultural sites such as:

- Rocky Mountain National Park
- Florida Everglades
- Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
- Mount Rainier National Park
- Gettysburg National Military Park
- Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition, of which ASLA is a member, along with a bipartisan group of conservation leaders from both chambers of Congress, recently released
50 Years of Conserving America the Beautiful, a report that explores the successes of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The report also provides policy recommendations to strengthen and improve the LWCF as it enters its sixth decade.

Funded through a small portion of receipts from offshore oil and gas leases, LWCF 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 and cultural and historic resources, as well as stimulate local economies in communities across the country.

ASLA supports full funding of LWCF and urges Congress to pass S. 338
the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 2013 which would provide such funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at its authorized level of $900 million.  With full funding landscape architects would have the ability to plan and design a wide range of park and recreation projects to meet the growing needs of communities across the nation. Unfortunately, the program is currently only funded at approximately $306 million.  Congress is poised to pass a continuing resolution that will maintain this level of funding through fiscal year 2015.

ASLA government affairs will continue to advocate on Capitol Hill to preserve and protect funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund to ensure our nation’s natural and cultural landscapes are longstanding. For more information on ASLA advocacy priorities, news and updates be sure to visit the
iAdvocate Network and the ASLA Advocacy homepage.


Kevin Fry
Director, PR and

JR Taylor
PR Coordinator