Overview of the issue
Established in 1964 through a bipartisan act of Congress, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is supported through royalties paid by energy companies drilling for oil and gas on the Outer Continental Shelf. The fund’s promise of reinvesting the depletion of one resource for the conservation of other lasting natural resources, however, is eclipsed by the fact that, since 1978, the LWCF has been fully funded only once. Lack of access is one of the primary challenges facing American hunters and anglers today. In fact, one survey found that 23 percent of hunters and 20 percent of anglers lost access to land or waters in the past year. This is why the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)—which helps pay for the acquisition of new hunting and fishing areas, expansion of public access, and improvements to fish and wildlife habitat—is critical to sportsmen and the $887-billion outdoor recreation economy.
Why does TRCP care?
In December of 2015, Congress reauthorized the program for three years and funded it at $450 million for 2016— an increase of nearly $150 million over the previous year. But the LWCF funding stream needs to be reauthorized again before October 2018. Especially with the current administration’s focus on access to public lands, we’ll be working with our partners to encourage an approach for LWCF that ensures its long-term promise to fund public access for sportsmen and women and sustain natural resource conservation.
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50 Days of Access Wins
In the last 50 days leading up to LWCF’s reauthorization, we’re highlighting a different state, with different access spotlights that are wins for sportsmen and women, and made possible by LWCF. Follow along.