Since its passage in 1965, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has gone on to become one of the nation’s greatest tools for providing access to the outdoors and helping to preserve the lands and waters we love.
For over half a century, LWCF has served to protect America’s greatest treasures: from national parks of outstanding beauty such as the Grand Canyon and Grand Teton, to historic sites embodying our nation’s past such as the San Antonio Missions, the Gettysburg Battlefield and Monroe Elementary School in Kansas— the school attended by Linda Brown, of Brown v. Board of Education. LCWF has successfully safeguarded countless acres of natural resources, greatly enhanced access to public lands, preserved our historical legacy, and even supported local economies by boosting tourism. To this day, LCWF has helped protect more than 100 national battlefields in 42 states, supported over 42,000 parks and recreation projects across the country, in addition to protecting more than 2.2 million acres of national parks.
In addition to permanent reauthorization, fixing the funding process of LWCF is a priority. Even though the program is funded through offshore oil and gas royalties – at no cost to taxpayers – it has only been fully funded at its annual $900 million cap twice in 54 years. On average, Congress authorizes LWCF to receive only about 46% of its allowed amount. By fully-funding LWCF municipal, state and federal sites would receive a significant boost to address numerous maintenance and development needs. This program has played a key role in protecting not just land and water conservation, but in preserving our country’s dynamic, multicultural past.
Why is this important to Latino communities?
Access & Health
- LWCF increases access to local and state parks for Latino communities - increasing opportunities for physical activity and access to green spaces and recreational activities
- Multiple studies conclude that access to nature promotes a healthy and active lifestyle
- For many Latinos and other diverse urban communities, sites funded through LWCF often provide their only means to experience the outdoors because this program supports local and municipal parks and projects.
Cultural Heritage and History
- LWCF has helped to protect cultural and historically significant places important to our nation’s diverse and shared history, such as El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro - a historic trade route between Mexico City and San Juan Pueblo New Mexico - and Monroe Elementary School in Kansas, the school attended by Linda Brown of Brown v. Board of Education.
Jobs & Economy
- The outdoor recreation economy generates $887 billion in consumer spending and 7.6 million jobs. By supporting recreation areas through local, state, and federal parks and projects, LWCF helps stimulate economic activity throughout the US.
- Initiatives such as Latino Conservation Week, MANO Project internships and fellowships with public land agencies through Hispanic Access Foundation, and programming with Latino Outdoors, Nuestra Tierra, and a multitude of Latino and other diverse environmental groups - all promote programming and job opportunities on public lands supported by LWCF.
- 85% of Latinos support the reauthorization of LWCF.
- 94% of Latinos see public lands, such as national parks, forests, monuments, and wildlife areas as an “essential part” of the economies in these states.
- 75% of Latinos would support the creation of new parks and monuments in their state.