The most successful U.S. land conservation program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, is under threat. For the first time in 50 years, LWCF was allowed to expire, and opponents are looking to alter its purpose. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, proposed reforms to LWCF that involve diverting the majority of the money to state and local projects at the expense of federal ones and essentially dismantling most of what LWCF was intended to do, which is to protect and enhance national parks, such as Great Smoky Mountains and Yosemite, and ensure continued conservation of areas around rivers and lakes, national forests, and national wildlife refuges.
LWCF is critical for protecting our country’s natural legacy and giving Americans the chance to enjoy the beauty of national parks, wildlife refuges, outdoor recreation, and more.
While supporters from both sides of the aisle stepped in and added a three-year extension, this only postpones the possibility of another expiration. We need to safeguard the program that protects and enhances our national forests and parks. American Forests’ petition asks our senators to permanently reauthorize LWCF to ensure this threat doesn’t come up again.