Act now: Tell Congress to fund conservation in America!

Rocky Mountain National Park, which was protected with the help of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Credit: John B. Kalla, flickr.

Ask Congress to fund conservation—including reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund and fixing the way we fight wildfires.

On June 16 and 18, House and Senate committees are set to consider appropriations bills to fund the Interior Department for the coming year. It is vital that lawmakers choose to adequately fund conservation, rejecting counterproductive “riders” and deep cuts to important programs.

Ask Congress to restore essential funding for parks and wildlands!

Congress has shortchanged conservation for decades, cutting funding for the National Park Service, Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and other agencies that help protect the outdoors and make it easier for us to enjoy them safely. Now, they have a chance to repair some of that damage.

Two conservation funding issues that most urgently need to be addressed:

More: Why the Land and Water Conservation Fund can’t be allowed to die

  • Congress must find a way to fight wildfires without robbing important conservation programs. Wildfire management costs have increased from 13 percent of the Forest Service budget in 1991 to almost 50 percent today. To keep up, the U.S. Forest Service is forced to divert funds from other popular and effective programs, including those that are specifically intended to reduce the cost and severity of future wildfires. We must support a bipartisan, sustainable approach to fighting wildfires, paying for it the same way we pay to deal with all other natural disasters—without robbing other critical conservation initiatives.

More: 5 myths and facts about wildfires and how we fight them

A recent report from The Wilderness Society and other groups points to dozens of programs that have been shortchanged repeatedly, harming public lands conservation, national park maintenance, clean water and access to outdoor recreation. In spite of the clear danger to our parks and other protected public lands, Congress is again proposing additional drastic cuts for conservation programs. It is imperative that Congress reinvest in these chronically underfunded programs that defend and safeguard our public lands—instead of cutting their budgets to the bone.

Conservation programs make up a fraction of the federal budget—scarcely more than 1 percent. Yet funding them helps to boost jobs, improve outdoor recreation opportunities and support a tourism industry that many communities rely on.

As Congress debates the federal budget for the coming fiscal year, we will work to make sure your voices are heard: funding conservation programs is essential!

Tell Congress to invest in the outdoors—we need fully funded conservation programs!