11.22.19

Conservation Groups Praise Gardner’s Efforts to Fully Fund LWCF

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is critical for Colorado conservation projects

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner’s (R-CO) latest effort to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is earning praise from leading conservation groups. This week the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources approved Gardner’s bipartisan legislation to provide full, permanent funding for the LWCF at a level of $900 million.

What conservation groups are saying:

“We applaud the effective efforts of Sen. Gardner to foster strong bi-partisan support for this vital conservation bill in the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and now his continued leadership to gain a Floor vote as quickly as possible,” said Suzanne O’Neill, Executive Director of Colorado Wildlife Federation.

“Over fifty years ago, Congress created the Land and Water Conservation Fund to help conserve the land and water we all rely on and use for recreation. We are excited that we are now one step closer to dedicating full funding for this already successful program,” said Patricia Rojas-Ungar, Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) Vice President of Government Affairs. “Fully funding LWCF will help even more Americans get access to the outdoors and experience the benefits of spending time in nature. OIA applauds the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee for passing this bill and is particularly thankful to Senators Gardner (R-CO) and Manchin (D-WV) for sponsoring this critical legislation. We laud them all for their leadership and urge the Senate to swiftly pass this bill.”

“Fully and permanently funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund keeps a promise to the American people, that this important and effective conservation tool will be available for future generations," said Kameran Onley, Director of U.S. Government Relations at The Nature Conservancy. "For over 50 years, LWCF has protected national parks, preserved watersheds and created new outdoor recreation opportunities for communities ready to experience the outdoors. We are eager to continue this successful program. The broad, bipartisan support for this bill and today’s vote not only demonstrates the importance and benefit of investing in nature, but also that nature unites us. We urge the full Senate to work together and swiftly approve this legislation."

“We at BHA thank Sen. Gardner for his leadership in introducing and advancing legislation that dedicates $900 million to the Land and Water Conservation Fund,” said John Gale, Conservation Director of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA). “Currently, more than 435,000 acres of state trust lands and 18,000 acres of public lands in Colorado are inaccessible to hunters, anglers and other outdoor recreationists. LWCF dollars could help enhance sportsmen’s access in Colorado by acquiring lands and collaborating with local stakeholders.”

“Securing dedicated funding for the LWCF would represent one of the biggest legislative accomplishments for America’s public lands in recent memory,” said Whit Fosburgh, President and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “As conservation’s share of the federal budget continues to shrink, it is extremely meaningful to see investments in habitat, access, and outdoor recreation uncoupled from a deeply entrenched federal appropriations process. We encourage lawmakers to move this bill swiftly to the Senate floor.”

"The Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation applauds the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and members of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus for voting to advance S. 1081 to provide permanent and dedicated funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)," said Jeff Crane, President of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation. “Permanently reauthorized earlier this year as part of S.47, LWCF also includes the Making Public Lands Public initiative that requires a portion of LWCF funds be set aside specifically for the purpose of increasing public access for America's sportsmen and women, which makes this program critically important to receive dedicated funding.”

“Today’s Senate Committee vote brings the LWCF Permanent Funding Act one step closer to becoming a reality,” said Kristine Stratton, National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) President and CEO. “NRPA thanks Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Cory Gardner (R-CO) Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Richard Burr (R-NC) for taking action and introducing a bill to fully fund LWCF, an important piece of funding our member agencies rely on to help provide access to parks and recreational opportunities in communities across the country. We urge members of Congress to join the House and Senate Committees in support of this bill because everyone deserves a great park.”

“With bipartisan support for LWCF and the Restore Our Parks Act from members like Senator Gardner we are one giant leap closer to providing more wildlife habitat, access and suitable infrastructure for recreation on our shared public lands and waters. Whether you ski, snowmobile, dive, ATV, hike, bike, motorcycle, fish, camp or hunt, these bills will open up new and better opportunities to enjoy safe and scenic outdoor experiences today, and for generations to come,” said Jessica Wahl, Outdoor Recreation Roundtable Executive Director.

“From Rocky Mountain to Mesa Verde, America’s national parks are falling into disrepair due to billions of dollars in needed repairs and upkeep, while at the same time facing constant threats of development from within their borders,” said Theresa Pierno, President and CEO for National Parks Conservation Association. “Our parks need and deserve dedicated funding to address their growing maintenance needs and to help protect additional lands through the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Thanks to congressional champions like Senator Gardner and strong bipartisan support, these two important park bills are moving forward to ensure our parks have the resources they need, that will benefit park visitors and communities across the country.”

"The Land Water Conservation Fund is one of our nation’s most powerful preservation tools," said Thomas J. Cassidy, Vice President for Government Relations and Policy at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "Its resources help ensure that national monuments to America’s diverse and influential heritage remain permanent symbols of our legacy for generations to come. Historic places, preserved in national parks and public lands, like the battlefield at Gettysburg, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s National Historical Park, and Colorado’s Canyons of the Ancients cannot be protected without this legacy of on-going federal investment. We applaud Sen. Gardner’s effort to make full funding of LWCF permanent to protect these types of irreplaceable places and call on Congress to take the remaining critical steps to sign this legislation into law.” 

Gardner is a champion for the Land and Water Conservation Fund in the U.S. Senate:

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Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.