Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) co-led a bipartisan coalition of 48 senators, including Senator Angus King (I-ME) in urging the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies to support the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and Forest Legacy Program, the nation’s federal conservation program, as they begin considerations for the upcoming fiscal year. The LWCF and Forest Legacy Program has funded more than 40,000 state and local outdoor recreation projects in all fifty states and have protected more than 2.5 million acres of land.
“From protecting wildlife habitat, natural resource lands, outdoor recreation opportunities, and working forests at the local, state and federal levels, to expanding hunting and fishing access, the LWCF and Forest Legacy conserves important lands for current and future generations,” wrote the senators. “Continued investments in these programs help our nation’s outdoor recreation, conservation and preservation economy, which supports millions of American jobs and contributes billions of dollars annually to the entire U.S. economy.”
The senators continued, “The programs funded by the LWCF, including Forest Legacy, the state-side program, endangered species grants, and battlefield protection, provide a diverse array of conservation tools to address national, state, local and regionally driven priorities across the country. Moreover, Forest Legacy supports working forest projects that help critical timberlands [be] forested and accessible, and provides jobs in rural communities.”
The Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1964 established one of America’s most successful conservation programs that supports the nation’s land, water, historic and recreational heritage. The program also supports America’s outdoor recreation, conservation and preservation economies, which contribute more than $1 trillion to the nation’s economy each year and supports 9.4 million American jobs. The Forest Legacy Program assists states and private forest owners to maintain working forest lands.
In addition to Senator Collins, the letter was led by U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Richard Burr (R-NC), Jon Tester (D-MT), Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Michael Bennet (D-CO).