July 22, 2014

Statement by Larry Selzer, President & CEO, The Conservation Fund 

“It is hard to imagine what the American landscape would look like if the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) had not been established nearly 50 years ago through the work of an insightful group of congressmen and Presidents from both sides of the political spectrum. A captivating report issued today by the LWCF Coalition—of which The Conservation Fund is a proud member—offers a glimpse into the countless treasured places and historic spaces protected across the nation thanks to the LWCF.

“We as Americans are inherently connected to the outdoors. We’re explorers, adventurers and aficionados of our diverse mountains, forests, deserts, swamps, rivers and oceans. The LWCF has been a critical tool for The Conservation Fund, enabling us and our partners to preserve iconic places and wildlife habitat, sustain working lands traditions, secure the sites where America’s historical and cultural identity were shaped, and enhance access to our natural wonders in remote locations and close to home. LWCF has been integral in the Fund’s efforts to conserve lands along the Appalachian Trail, on the Rocky Mountain Front, at Gettysburg National Battlefield Park, in the Everglades and within Grand Teton National Park.

“The LWCF is funded through a strategic and innovative concept, using a portion of proceeds from offshore oil and gas royalties—not taxpayer dollars—to support the protection of these beloved natural places. This investment in America’s natural lands produces a thriving outdoor economy. According to the LWCF Coalition 50th Report, outdoor recreation alone supports 6.1 million jobs and produces $646 billion in consumer spending nationwide each year. That amounts to nearly $40 billion in state and local tax revenue annually. Add to that the millions of timber, farming and ranching jobs that our sustainable working lands support, the LWCF has more than lived up to President Kennedy’s prediction of it being, ‘a sound financial investment,’ as enacted by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

“LWCF is not a luxury; it’s a lifeline for the health of our nation. I urge all Americans, especially our leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, to support the reauthorization of LWCF for another 50 years and beyond. Together, we can tackle the 21st century challenges facing our country as our population grows and shifts, creating more stress on our natural resources. We need the LWCF more than ever to secure these exceptional resources for generations to come.”

About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states to protect more than 7.5 million acres of land since 1985.