The Future of our Parks is in Danger

It’s hard to imagine American the Beautiful without our local, state, and national parks. Unfortunately there is another environmental protection fund that could be at risk.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund was established in 1964 by Congress to make sure important land and water resources would be set aside for recreational purposes. This includes state grants for local parks to maintain and install new playgrounds, ball fields, and recreation trails, and to provide access to lakes and rivers; as well as protection of large open spaces and landscapes and partnerships with private land owners to enact conservation practices on their property.

Each and every state in the union has benefited from this fund. Michigan and Ohio have received funds totaling around 330 million each to protect places like the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan.

There are some things that are hard to argue against and this is one of them. The fund has been widely accepted on both sides of the aisle and benefits so many people in so many different ways. And to top it all off, it doesn’t use a cent of taxpayer money. Can you believe it? Did you know, not all government programs are tax payer funded?

According to the U.S. Department of the Interior “the primary source of revenue for the Land and Water Conservation Fund is from federal oil and gas leases on the Outer Continental Shelf.” There is a tradeoff as one natural resource is being taken out of the ground others are being protected through the revenue.

Time is starting to run out for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. After 52 years, the fund is nearing its expiration date and if the fund is not renewed, we are looking at the loss of millions of dollars in appropriations to our park systems. Not only would we be losing out in investments in our natural resources, but also the millions of jobs and other economic benefits of tourism and recreation.

It’s hard to even put a price on this beauty:

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Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

There is a countdown on The Land & Water Conservation Fund Coalition website letting you know how few days are left until the fund expires. The Coalition has also launched the #SaveLWCF initiative to show all of the ways the fund has help protect our important natural spaces over the past 52 years.

Spread the word, use the hashtag, and tell Congress to act to continue this important fund.

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