Friday mystery photo

National Park Service

This photo photo was taken at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan.

As we commemorate the anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s death, we should also remember his legacy of protecting wild lands. Today’s mystery photo comes from a place that has the most acres protected by the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)—a law signed by President Kennedy. To date more than 6 million acres of wild and historic lands have been protected by LWCF. 

The LWCF takes a portion of royalties energy companies pay the government for extracting publicly owned offshore oil and gas from the Outer Continental Shelf. The government then takes those revenues and reinvests them in the conservation of our public lands and natural resources.

Energy companies pay the federal government about $900 million every year. This goes to the LWCF.

The federal government uses the Land and Water Conservation Fund to acquire and protect pockets of private lands within our national parks, forests, refuges, trails, Bureau of Land Management lands and in other places. The fund also protects and supports:

  • Recreation and conservation lands
  • Land access
  • Working land easements
  • Expansion and development of state and local parks

Although the Land and Water Conservation Fund is authorized to receive up to $900 million per year, Congress nearly always diverts the funds for other uses. This often leads to inadequate funding for vital conservation projects.

Despite inadequate funding, LWCF remains the premier federal program to conserve our nation’s land, water, historic and recreation heritage. 

At Wilderness, we’re working to ensure the LWCF remains as an important tool in the protection of wildlands.