Congress, don't kill this program

Jack Bombardier, guide and LWCF supporter, on the Colorado River

by Randy Scholfield

The countdown has begun: Congress has a matter of days to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund--one of the most successful conservation programs in U.S. history--before it expires on Sept. 30.

Why is Trout Unlimited working hard to keep the LWCF alive? Because in its 50-year history, the program has made possible so many of our sporting opportunities and enhanced so many of our best outdoor places across the nation. 

Check out this new report from Colorado Trout Unlimited about how the LWCF has supported local communities, increased public access to recreation areas, and preserved some of the best wild places in the state.

In 1964 Congress created the LWCF as a bipartisan commitment to protect natural resources and cultural heritage and to provide recreation opportunities throughout the United States. The funds are generated annually from $900 million in royalties paid by the energy industry from offshore drilling (although the program has been fully funded only once in its history).

“Although not a household name, the LWCF is one of the most successful conservation programs in our nation’s history,” said David Nickum, executive director of Colorado Trout Unlimited. “As our report shows, here in Colorado the program has helped preserve and enhance public lands that are vitally important to Coloradans’ outdoor quality of life and the state’s recreation economy.”

One example from the report: at Cross Mountain Canyon Ranch, a 920-acre sportsmen’s paradise surrounded by 88,000 acres of public lands, LWCF funds allowed the BLM to purchase the ranch to preserve wildlife habitat, open almost three miles of Yampa River frontage and make tens of thousands of acres of spectacular wild land more accessible for fishing, rafting and big-game hunting.

“Public lands and outdoor recreation are vital to our rural west slope economy,” said Jack Bombardier, owner of Confluence Casting, a fly-fishing guide service. “When LWCF invests in projects like river access and boat launches on the Colorado River, it helps businesses like mine to create jobs and generate economic benefits in our communities.” 

Sportsmen in many other states have benefited in similar fashion from the LWCF investments in rivers, streams and public lands. Let's keep this hard-working program intact. Learn more and take action here.

Randy Scholfield is TU's director of communications for the Southwest region. 


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