The Land and Water Conservation Fund has expired. Now what?

Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming) was partly protected by LWCF, and future conservation projects also rely on the fund.

Credit: Elizabeth Haslam, flickr.

UPDATE: In December 2015, Congress struck a deal to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund for three years—a hard-fought win for The Wilderness Society and our members

Despite months of hard work by The Wilderness Society, our members and congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle, the Land and Water Conservation Fund officially lapsed on Sept. 30 thanks to a few ideologically driven politicians.

NEWS: Land and Water Conservation Fund saved for the short term

This is a huge disappointment. The Land and Water Conservation Fund is a rare program that enjoys bipartisan support in our nation’s capital and boasts tens of thousands of past successes. If it came up for a vote, it would pass both the House and Senate. Congress failed to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund because a few extreme voices were allowed to make decisions about parks, trails and open spaces across the entire country. Public lands champions from Theodore Roosevelt to Lyndon Johnson to Gaylord Nelson would be horrified.

However, all is not lost. Congress may not have gotten the job done on time, but with your help, we can still press lawmakers to revive and permanently fund LWCF.

Time to mount a comeback

Though the reauthorization deadline has passed, there will be a number of opportunities this fall to restore the Land and Water Conservation Fund. It won’t be easy, but we have faced tough challenges before and won.

It is more important than ever that you help us by letting Congress know that you value LWCF and you’re upset about their dereliction of duty. We want leaders in Washington to get back to the table and revive this program that has served us well for 50 years, conserving special places ranging from Grand Teton National Park to historic battlefields to local playgrounds.

Each day that Congress does not restore the program means another $2.5 million that will not be set aside to invest in America’s parks. It’s past time for our senators and representatives to set aside politics and listen to the people.