Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

July 2020


Congress Fully Funds LWCF With Passage of Great American Outdoors Act

The U.S. Congress made history last week by passing the Great American Outdoors Act, which fully and permanently funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The Act passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and will be sent to the President’s desk, where it is expected to be signed into law. LWCF is the most important source of federal funding to create a develop local parks, trails, boat launches, sports fields and other recreation areas and park infrastructure.

“This is a historic victory over 50 years in the making for communities across the country that benefit from the economic, cultural and recreational value of America’s public lands and close-to-home recreation,” said Tom Cors, director of government relations for lands at The Nature Conservancy and a spokesperson for the LWCF Coalition. “Despite years of uneven funding, LWCF has conserved iconic landscapes in every state; protected our national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, wilderness, monuments and battlefields; and supported community investments in parks and outdoor recreation opportunities. Now, LWCF will be a promise fully kept, as a permanent commitment to conservation, recreation and community needs that for too long have fallen through the cracks. And, it will do all this while driving job creation and economic recovery efforts our country needs right now.”

“This marks a huge win for our more than 60,000 members and advocates, who work tirelessly to serve the public through park and recreation opportunities in urban and rural communities throughout the country,” said Kristine Stratton, president and CEO of the National Recreation and Park Association, upon passage of the Act. “More importantly, it is a huge win for every person in our country, as this critical funding advances our goal of ensuring everyone has access to the benefits of quality parks and recreation.”

Under the Great American Outdoors Act, LWCF will receive $900 million annually via offshore oil and gas revenues—not taxpayer dollars. Billions in previously diverted funding will now be secured for park projects. Since the program was signed into law in 1965, 42,000 state and local park projects in every state have been funded through LWCF.

“With this legislation, the original vision of LWCF will at last be realized, and countless missing puzzle pieces within our national parks, forests and wildlife refuges will be secured and not lost through private sale,” Cors added. “Local communities will now have more resources to meet their recreation needs and the confidence to make long-term investments to protect their water supplies, adapt to a changing climate and strike a needed balance between development and protection. … This marks a new era for conservation and recreation in this country.”


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