Media Statement: The Conservation Fund Thanks President Obama For Supporting Full Funding of America’s Greatest Conservation Program

March 5, 2014

Statement by Lawrence A. Selzer, President & CEO of The Conservation Fund

“The Conservation Fund applauds President Obama for supporting full funding of America’s greatest conservation program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).  The President’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget includes $900 million for LWCF, at a critical time for conservation and historic preservation, as well as the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act in 2014 and the 50th anniversary of LWCF in 2015.  We urge the U.S. Congress to follow suit by fully funding LWCF, in order to invest in America’s natural infrastructure for the benefit of current and future generations.   

“For almost 50 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has provided critical funding for conservation, cultural preservation, outdoor recreation, urban parks, forestland protection, and sportsmen’s access.  LWCF protects America’s natural treasures – the local parks and greenways where our children play, the private farms and forests we nurture, and the federal and state public lands where we recreate – and precious resources that support our national economy and improve our overall quality of life.  LWCF is also an important tool for reducing the threat of wildfire, supporting local economies, and improving the management of our public lands.

“LWCF is fully paid for without relying on the support of American taxpayer dollars; a small portion of royalties from offshore oil and gas development provides funding for LWCF projects.  LWCF is a simple asset-for-asset conservation arrangement that honors the principles of fiscal responsibility while safeguarding our nation’s shared outdoor heritage for current and future generations. 

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Photo by Todd Kaplan

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Photo by Todd Kaplan

“LWCF is essential to outdoor businesses, tourism and economic growth in small towns and communities across the country. The outdoor recreation industry generates $646 billion annually for the U.S. economy and supports jobs in every state.  LWCF has created outdoor recreation opportunities in every state and in 98 percent of counties across the country, including enhanced public access for trout fishing along the North Platte River in Wyoming, viewshed and trail protection at the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in many eastern states, public access for floating at the Upper Snake South Fork River in Idaho, and many popular locations where Americans hike, bike, camp, boat, and enjoy the outdoors.

“The President’s budget also supports additional conservation programs that are vital to federal, state, and private efforts to preserve and restore America’s natural resources, including the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund and the USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Service’s conservation programs. The budget also proposes to reauthorize the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act, bringing back a successful ‘land for land’ mechanism that allows the proceeds from Bureau of Land Management land sales to fund critical land conservation in the West at BLM conservation areas, national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, national trails, wilderness, Wild and Scenic Rivers and more.

“We strongly support full and dedicated funding for LWCF, a program that provides unmatched economic, environmental, social, cultural and historical value for our nation and our future.”  

About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we combine a passion for conservation with an entrepreneurial spirit to protect your favorite places before they become just a memory. A hallmark of our work is our deep, unwavering understanding that for conservation solutions to last, they need to make economic sense. Top-ranked, we have protected more than 7 million acres across America.