FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sam Runyon (Manchin) Sam_Runyon@energy.senate.gov 202-224-3907
Jerrod Dobkin (Gardner) Jerrod_Dobkin@gardner.senate.gov 202-228-5800
Bryan Watt (Cantwell) Bryan_Watt@cantwell.senate.gov 202-224-8277
Caitlin Carroll (Burr) Caitlin_Carroll@burr.senate.gov 202-228-1616
MANCHIN, GARDNER, CANTWELL AND BURR LEAD BIPARTISAN BILL TO PERMANENTLY FUND LWCF
Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act makes $900 million available each year
Washington, DC – (April 9, 2019) Today, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Cory Gardner (R-CO) led a bipartisan group of Senators in introducing the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act legislation to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at a level of $900 million. Manchin and Gardner were joined by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Richard Burr (R-NC), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Jon Tester (D-MT), Steve Daines (R-MT), Tom Udall (D-NM), Susan Collins (R-ME), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Angus King (I-ME).
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund is responsible for the acquisition of some of West Virginia’s most treasured lands. The Gauley River National Recreation Area, Monongahela National Forest and Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge are just a few examples of areas that benefited from LWCF funds. With 54 of our 55 counties having received LWCF investments at some point, the benefits of LWCF can truly be felt across the Mountain State. I’m proud to lead this bipartisan bill that will finally fund LWCF at the intended levels so we can continue to preserve, protect and invest in our public lands,” Senator Manchin said.
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund is the crown jewel of conservation programs and now that we have successfully permanently authorized the program, the next step is to make the funding of the program automatic,” said Senator Gardner. “Colorado projects rely on LWCF funding and fighting year after year about how much money to provide the program does not provide the long-term planning certainty our outdoor and conservation communities deserve. This is a commonsense, bipartisan program that comes at no cost to the taxpayer, and it is time Congress fully and permanently funds this critical conservation program so future generations of Coloradans will have access to our great outdoors.”
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund is the preeminent tool to increase access to our nation’s beloved public lands. Now we need to build on our recent success to permanently extend the program by making sure the funding is mandatory and the program gets fully funded every year,” said Senator Cantwell. “The LWCF gives local communities the tools and resources needed to manage public lands, to provide more access to our lands and waters, and to do the things that will help us grow jobs and persevere against a very challenging and threatening climate.”
“From the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks, North Carolina’s parks and lands have benefited immensely from the Land and Water Conservation Fund,” Senator Burr said. “I am proud this popular and effective program has finally been made permanent, but we still have to make sure it has the resources necessary to carry out its important work. This bill permanently secures adequate funding for LWCF – without costing American taxpayers a dime.”
As part of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, which was enacted into law last month (Public Law 116-9), Congress permanently authorized the LWCF. However, expenditures from the LWCF continue to be subject to federal appropriations. The Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act would remove the requirement that the LWCF funds must be appropriated. Instead for the first time, makes $900 million available each year without needing to be appropriated.
LWCF provides funding for additions to national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests and other federal public lands used for outdoor recreation and habitat preservation. The LWCF also funds important projects that protect drinking water resources, sensitive habitat for fish and wildlife, and private forestland. The LWCF provides matching grants to states and localities for investments in outdoor recreation facilities, such as parks and ballfields, and helps protect threatened battlefield sites.
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund has connected millions of Americans with unrivaled outdoor experiences and conserved essential wildlife habitat across the nation for the past half century. Its permanent reauthorization was an important first step, but fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund is an essential next step to keep nature and wildlife within reach for future generations,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “This bipartisan legislation deserves swift consideration and passage.”
“This is one of the smartest investments Congress can make,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “The Land and Water Conservation Fund has made a lasting impact in every state in America, spurring increased access and more recreational opportunity. This legislation will send meaningful resources to ground that benefit hunters and anglers for generations to come.”
“We know that connecting with nature is linked to stronger communities and improved health, and the introduction of a bill that would fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund is terrific news,” said Diane Regas, President and CEO of The Trust for Public Land. “Full and dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund would mean more access to nature for more people in every state in our country. I want to thank Senators Manchin and Gardner for their strong support of this critical program.”
“We took a big leap toward securing LWCF’s future with the passage of S. 47, which permanently reauthorizes the program. Yet more work remains to be done – specifically ensuring LWCF’s full and dedicated funding. To that end, I want to thank Sen. Manchin for working in a bipartisan fashion and championing legislation that would fully dedicate funds to LWCF and guarantee funding for projects that increase hunting and fishing access on public lands and waters all across the country. Passage of this bill would take us across the finish line,” said Land Tawney, president and CEO, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.
“In February, Congress made a promise to the American people: our country’s best conservation program is here to stay. Permanently reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund was a major win for the preservation of public lands across the country, ensuring that we will always have a critical tool for expanding national parks, protecting watersheds and creating new outdoor recreation opportunities for communities eager to get into the outdoors,” said Kameran Onley, director of U.S. Government Relations at The Nature Conservancy. “Today’s funding bill will fulfill the rest of that promise, ensuring LWCF will always have the full and dedicated funding it needs to continue conserving our treasured natural landscapes. We urge lawmakers to work together in the same bipartisan spirit that made permanent reauthorization a reality and do the same for funding for LWCF.”
To learn more about the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act click here.
To read the legislation text in full click here.
National Park Trust Honors Sen. Lamar Alexander (TN) with 2017 Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, D.C. (June 14, 2017) – National Park Trust (NPT) awards Sen. Lamar Alexander (TN) the 17th Bruce F. Vento Public Service Award at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Watch our video tribute here.
“Senator Alexander is recognized for his extraordinary efforts to support our national parks and public lands,” said Grace Lee, executive director, National Park Trust.
In his work on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Environment, Sen. Alexander has been a dedicated and strong supporter of our national parks. He is honored for his exemplary work on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, where he serves on the Subcommittee on National Parks. As a member of this committee, he demonstrates his commitment to protecting our national heritage by sponsoring legislation to incorporate hallowed ground into Shiloh National Military Park and give special designation to Parker’s Crossroad Battlefield. Senator Alexander has also sponsored legislation to take the next step in preserving former President James K. Polk’s home in Columbia, Tenn., as a site within the National Park System.
He supports permanently reauthorizing and full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and has worked to protect wild lands through sponsorship of an act to designate 20,000 acres of land in the Cherokee National Forest as federal wilderness. Most recently in April 2017, he co-sponsored the National Park Service Legacy Act, legislation that would help to reduce NPS’s $12 billion maintenance backlog, including $232 million for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
According to NPT Board Chair Bill Brownell, “Sen. Alexander has demonstrated leadership in creating the next generation of conservationists by working to ensure that everyone, regardless of their age, ethnicity or income level will have access to our parks and public lands.” This is further exemplified by his co-sponsorship of a Senate Resolution in 2016 and 2017 in support of Kids to Parks Day.
“Documentarian Ken Burns called the U.S. National Park Service, ‘America’s best idea’ – and I couldn’t agree more. Growing up in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, I learned to appreciate our national parks and public places at an early age, and I have put that love for the outdoors to work as a United States Senator, trying to protect our parks, help make the air cleaner, and provide protected open spaces so that our children and grandchildren can enjoy the outdoors as I did,” Senator Alexander said. “I am grateful for this award, but really it’s the National Park Trust that deserves praise for its work in protecting and preserving national parks and connecting children to the Great American Outdoors.”
“Senator Lamar Alexander’s decades of service in Washington, D.C. and at home in Tennessee, will not only help to preserve America’s national parks today but also guarantee that they will be here for the enjoyment of future generations,” added NPT Board Chair Bill Brownell.
NPT established the Vento Award in 2000 to honor the memory and legacy of Bruce F. Vento, a twelve-term Congressman from Minnesota, dedicated environmentalist and a champion of legislation for America’s parks. The award honors a public servant for his or her commitment to the environment and his service, skill, and innovation in support of our public lands. Past recipients include Congresswoman Betty McCollum (MN), Senator Rob Portman (OH), Senator Ron Wyden (OR), Congressman Mike Simpson (ID), Senator Jeff Bingaman (NM), Senator Susan Collins (ME), Senator Mark Udall (CO), Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (CA), Senator Harry Reid (NV), Congressman George Miller (CA), Senator John McCain (AZ), and Congressman John Lewis (GA).
All proceeds from the event benefit NPT’s park preservation and youth programs.
ABOUT NATIONAL PARK TRUST
National Park Trust is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. Since 1983, NPT’s land preservation projects have benefited more than 40 national parks. In 2009, NPT launched its nationally recognized Buddy Bison School Program which currently supports 62 Title I elementary and middle schools. Since 2011, NPT has organized Kids to Parks Day, an annual national celebration of America’s parks hosted on the third Saturday in May. More details about NPT and this award can be found at www.parktrust.org.
Press Contact: Grace Lee, NPT Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-279-7275, ext. 11.
Senate Passes Bipartisan Resolution Designating May 20 “Kids to Parks Day”
Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., and Mazie K. Hirono, D-Hawaii, applauded the Senate’s passage of their bipartisan resolution to encourage children to get outdoors by designating May 20 National Kids to Parks Day.
The seventh annual Kids to Parks Day kicks off a summer-long series of events at local, state and national parks. Kids to Parks Day began in 2011 with the National Park Trust.
More than 731,000 people participated in last year’s Kids to Parks Day, according to the National Park Trust.
“Oregon’s beautiful rivers, mountains and forests give Oregonians a special connection to the outdoors that starts early and lasts a lifetime,” Wyden said after the Senate passed the resolution on Wednesday. “Kids to Parks Day builds on that connection by encouraging young people to get outside, enjoy the outdoors and engage in healthy recreation.”
“I’ve come to realize that I was one of the luckiest guys in the world because I grew up in Maryville, Tenn., which means I grew up next to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. When you grow up next to a national park, you really grow up in the park – spending your weekends and special times there, and the park looms large in many of your childhood memories,” Alexander said. “It is my hope that children across the country will take some time to celebrate Kids to Parks Day on May 20. I hope they go explore our country’s national parks and create their own memories.”
“Our parks are a national treasure where New Jerseyans and all Americans can appreciate the natural environment and the great outdoors,” Booker said. “Kids to Parks Day encourages children and families to get outside and enjoy our local, state, and national parks. I encourage everyone to take part on May 20th.”
“I am proud to support the Kids to Parks Day Resolution to encourage youth and their families to visit our treasured national parks,” Portman said. “It’s important to encourage our younger generations to enjoy and experience the outdoors, and I’m pleased that thousands of kids in Ohio will be visiting and learning about our national treasures on Kids to Parks Day.”
“Our parks and public lands offer endless opportunities for kids to explore, learn, and play,” Heinrich said. “Connecting kids to the outdoors, whether it’s playing in the local park down the street or hiking and camping in a national park, can inspire a lifelong connection to conservation, while reaping all of the health benefits that go along with an active lifestyle.”
“Our parks offer an important environment for our keiki to play in, learn, and explore Hawaii’s natural resources,” Hirono said. “We currently have over 50 state and national parks in Hawaii. Through encouraging our ohana to get outdoors and stay active, we can help plant the seeds of success in our keiki – promoting healthy outdoor recreation and environmental stewardship for years to come.”
The seventh annual Kids to Parks Day will be Saturday, May 20, 2017. To find a list of events near you, click here.