Land and Water Conservation Fund needs our help

Dwarf-crested Iris
Dwarf-crested Iris

Every once in while, it’s good to remember that our Senators and Congressional representatives work for us. That’s why we have elections.

I got an email from the American Hiking Society, an organization that speaks for hikers and trails all over the country. They are asking you, the outdoor and trail loving public, to contact your senators and  Congressperson about the Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF),  now 50 years old.

Technically this shouldn’t even be an issue – LWCF dollars are derived from royalties paid by companies drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf, not from tax dollars. Unfortunately, LWCF is caught up in all the back-and-forth that goes on when working out a final budget.

Pink lady slippers
Pink lady slippers

As a naive voter, I ask, “How can they do that? If the money is from a specific source for a particular purpose, it should be given to land and water conservation. No argument.” It should stay out of the Congressional budget.

But obviously this isn’t how it works. Right now Congress is trying to put some final touches on the fiscal year 2015 budget. Among the many items being discussed for increases/decreases in funding is the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

So the American Hiking Society asks that you contact your Senators and your Representative. Ask them to help protect funding for some of America’s favorite trails:

1. Urge your Senators to encourage Senators Barbara Mikulski, Jack Reed, Richard Shelby, and Lisa Murkowski to hold the funding level for LWCF in the fiscal year 2015 Appropriations to $350 million in their discussions with their counterparts in the House. Let your senators know too why this is important to you – what trails you enjoy hiking, how you enjoy family time spent outdoors, etc. They need to know that real people enjoy the lands the LWCF helps protect.

2. Urge your Representative to ask Reps. Harold Rogers, Ken Calvert, Nita Lowey, and Jim Moran to accept the $350 million funding proposed for the LWCF by the Senate. Again, let them know why this is important to you personally.

If live in North Carolina, your senators are:

Kay Hagan (yes, she’s still our senator) at info@kayhagan.com

Richard Burr is at http://www.burr.senate.gov/public

If you want to know who your Congressional representative is, go to http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is the federal program to conserve irreplaceable lands and improve outdoor recreation opportunities throughout the nation. The program works in partnership with state and local efforts to acquire and protect inholdings and expansions in our national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, national trails, and BLM areas. LWCF grants to states support the acquisition and development of state and local parks and recreational facilities.

 

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