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The Land and Water Conservation Fund Has Expired

​Yesterday, Congress let the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), one of our country’s most important conservation funding mechanisms, expire.

By: Outdoor Alliance + Save to a List

It’s disappointing that reauthorizing such a common-sense program that has such wide bipartisan support is such a challenge, but we’re actually feeling pretty positive about the prospects for permanent reauthorization before the end of the year.

We’ve written a lot about LWCF before. LWCF helps to fund the acquisition of new public lands and waters, facilitate trail maintenance and outdoor recreation infrastructure, and create new parks using revenue from off-shore energy royalties. The program has been around since 1964 and expired most recently in 2015.

Even though the program expired, we feel hopeful about the chances of permanent reauthorization. Right now, a solid LWCF reauthorization bill has cleared a key House committee that had previously been a major sticking point, and a long list of cosponsors (you can find the current list for the Senate bill here) support reauthorization in both the House and Senate. We think it’s possible that LWCF could be reauthorized among a package of other recreation and outdoor bills before the end of the year.

To make sure that happens, though, it’s important for you to write to your lawmakers and tell them that LWCF matters to you. We will keep you in the loop as your voice is needed and as reauthorization progresses.

Reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund

How can you help make a difference? Contact your Congress critters with the tool at the bottom of this page. The more personalized the message, the better.

  1. Ask your representatives to protect funding for some of America's great outdoors by renewing the Land and Water Conservation Fund. 
  2. Let them know too why this is important to you — what you enjoy doing outside, the places you like to go, etc. They need to know that real people enjoy the places LWCF helps maintain and protect.

An update as of Tuesday, October 2: a bill that would reauthorize and provide dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund just passed out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. This is a crucial milestone and we are hopeful that the program will be reauthorized soon.

Cover photo by Tobin Akehurst from Colorado's Black Canyon of the Gunnison, an LWCF-enabled protected area. 

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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