Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Burr (R-NC), and others today introduced legislation to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which protects and promotes access to America's parks, rivers, forests, and public lands.
"Access to Colorado's open spaces is critical to our thriving outdoor recreation economy," Bennet said. "The LWCF has supported hundreds of projects across Colorado, from protecting the Ophir Valley to expanding and improving the Animas River Trail to providing Denver kids with outdoor educational opportunities in their own neighborhoods. We should pass this bill to reauthorize the program permanently, and at the same time, Congress should move to ensure the LWCF receives full and dedicated funding going forward."
"The LWCF has a proven track record of making good on the promise of conserving our parks, open spaces, and wildlife habitats for the benefit of future generations of Americans," Burr said. "My colleagues and I offer this bill to permanently extend the LWCF, a program that preserves our natural heritage but does so without asking American taxpayers to shoulder the burden. I look forward to my colleagues coming together to pass this bipartisan legislation."
Outdoor recreation drives economic growth, creates jobs, and produces significant revenues for local communities. The LWCF is the key federal investment in a sector that supports more than 6 million American jobs and contributes $646 billion annually to our nation's economy. Colorado has received more than $275 million in LWCF funding over the past five decades.
U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Steve Daines (R-MT), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) also cosponsored today's legislation.
"The LWCF is our most important and successful conservation and recreation program. I have long supported this landmark program that has created opportunities for Americans to enjoy the outdoors in every state," Collins said. "By permanently extending the LWCF, our legislation will help create a more stable, long-term plan that allows landowners, states, local communities, and conservation partners to reasonably plan for the future."
"LWCF is a critical tool that helps expand access to our public lands and preserves our Montana way of life," Daines said. "By permanently reauthorizing LWCF we can remove uncertainty and protect access to public lands for future generations."
"LWCF is essential to protect Colorado's natural treasures and I have long supported a permanent reauthorization of this program," Gardner said. "This bipartisan, commonsense legislation is supported by countless Coloradans and Americans who want to protect our country's public lands for future generations to enjoy. I'll continue to work with my colleagues to see permanent reauthorization of LWCF signed into law."
"The Land and Water Conservation Fund has helped protect some of our most treasured public lands and wildlife refuges in New Mexico like the Valles Caldera and Ute Mountain," Heinrich said. "LWCF also expands opportunities for outdoor traditions like hunting, camping, and fishing that are among the pillars of Western culture, and a thriving outdoor recreation economy. Permanently and fully funding LWCF will help ensure that our outdoor heritage and public lands will be protected for future generations to enjoy."
Click HERE for the full text of the bill.