President Announces Funding Goals for Parks Projects in Dozens of States: Wilderness Society applauds proposed investments by Land and Water Conservation Fund

Feb 4, 2016
Today, President Obama released his plans for fiscal year 2017 investments in parks and recreation areas in dozens of states from Florida to Alaska under the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Rather than using taxpayer dollars, the program’s funds come from a small slice of royalties from oil and gas leases in publicly owned offshore waters. 

The 2017 budget would invest $900 million for conservation and recreation projects, which is the annual amount authorized by the 1964 bill that created this popular program. However, actual funding approved by Congress has traditionally fallen far short of that amount. 

Alan Rowsome at The Wilderness Society commented:

“By conserving these treasured lands for future generations, the President’s proposal would be huge step forward for Americans who value outdoor recreation.  Demand for parks for outdoor recreation continues to grow across the U.S.  Yet many of America’s most beautiful open spaces and wildlands are under enormous pressure to be developed, and we lose vast numbers of acres every year.”

Kris Sarri of the Department of Interior and Robert Bonnie at the Department of Agriculture published a blog today that states:

“These investments – using voluntary conservation tools like easements and purchases from willing sellers – respond to local communities’ priorities. They will conserve public lands in or near national parks, refuges, and forests, including landscapes identified for collaborative, strategic conservation; increase access for hunting and fishing; protect historic battlefields; and provide grants to states for close-to-home recreation and conservation projects on non-federal lands.”

The budget proposal is part of Obama administration’s goal of securing permanent reauthorization and full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund by the year 2018, when a temporary reauthorization brokered in late 2015 is set to expire.

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The Wilderness Society is the leading conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. Founded in 1935, and now with more than 700,000 members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 109 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands. www.wilderness.org.    

Contacts: Alan Rowsome, Senior Director of Government Relations for Lands, 202-429-2643, alan_rowsome@tws.org;  Michael Reinemer, Communications Manager-Wildlands, 202-429-3949, michael_reinemer@tws.org