While permanently authorized earlier this year, LWCF’s funding stems from a portion of offshore oil and gas royalties -- at no cost to taxpayers -- and is allocated by Congress, however, the program has only been fully funded at its annual cap of $900 million twice in its 54-year history.
“The importance of LWCF cannot be overstated – it’s a critical tool that provides Latinos and underserved communities with access to the outdoors, it supports both outdoor recreation and tourism economies and helps protect cultural heritage and historically significant places critical to our nation’s diverse and shared history. Examples include El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, a historic trade route between Mexico City and San Juan Pueblo, New Mexico, Roberto Clemente State Park, which not only honors the Puerto Rican baseball legend, but also provides New York’s Bronx with much needed community space, and Monroe Elementary School in Kansas, the school attended by Linda Brown of Brown v. Board of Education.
“More than 50 years ago, Congress created LWCF as a bipartisan commitment to safeguard natural areas, water resources and our cultural heritage, and to provide recreation opportunities to all Americans. Since then, LWCF has funded tens of thousands of parks and projects throughout the country. Whether it’s developing a community pool, creating green space in the desert or strengthening our national parks, LWCF is one of the most critical tools for creating access to the outdoors, especially for diverse and urban communities, and protecting the places we love.
“This bill represents a sizeable and positive step for conservation. By fully funding LWCF, we can ensure our nation’s protected lands and water sources will be here for future generations. Local economies will continue to benefit from a consistent influx of visitors, while tourism and recreation industries will benefit from the stability by preventing parks, wildlife refuges, and forests being opened up for commercial development.
“We applaud Rep. Van Drew for making one of his first major actions as a member of Congress to move forward full dedicated funding for this critical program, which has benefitted nearly every county in the nation.”
For over half a century, LWCF has successfully safeguarded countless acres of natural resources, enhanced access to public lands, preserved our historical legacy, and supported local economies by boosting tourism. To this day, LWCF 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 helping protect more than 2.2 million acres of national parks.
Hispanic Access explores the relationship Latino and diverse communities have with LWCF in the film Land, Water y Comunidad and through a whitepaper that profiles LWCF locations and why the fund’s support matters.