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National Recreation and Park Association calls on Congress to fund LWCF Stateside Assistance at $125 million for FY 2010.

x Read more opinions and news on the Land and Water Conservation Fund

x For More Information on LWCF: LWCF projects organized by state or county can be viewed at:


LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION FUND - Stateside Assistance Program


x December 22, 2010: A day after introducing the America’s Great Outdoors Act, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid cancelled his effort to pass the 110-bill Omnibus legislation this year. The Senator's spokeswoman Regan Lachapelle said that "Sen. Reid is working with the chairmen of the relevant committees to see if smaller sections of the bill might be able to pass on their own." Senate Republicans had asked for more time for review the many unrelated program authorizations.

x July 19, 2010 - From the National Recreation & Parks Association

Background:  In the House, the Consolidated Land Energy and Aquatic Resources Act (HR 3534) was passed out of committee earlier this week with a provision specifying full and dedicated funding ($900 million annually) for the LWCF.  The House is likely to hold a floor vote on the CLEAR Act  THIS WEEK.

Several weeks ago the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed the Outer Continental Shelf Reform Act of 2010 (S. 3516).  Unfortunately, this bill did not contain a provision for full and dedicated funding of the LWCF.  The Senate is likely to have a floor vote on the bill in the coming weeks and there will be an effort to amend the bill to include LWCF funding.

Issue:  Neither of these bills provides protection for Stateside funding. The current law governing LWCF provides a minimum funding level only for the Federal LWCF program.  It specifies that a minimum of 40% of LWCF funds MUST be used for Federal purposes.  It is silent on a minimum amount for the State Assistance program.

If full and dedicated funding for the LWCF becomes law, the Federal program would be guaranteed a minimum of $360 million per year. The allocation of the remaining funds between the two programs would be determined by the Administration in office.  Because the law does not provide a minimum requirement for the State Assistance program, an Administration could decide to allocate 0% of the LWCF funding to the State Assistance program.  This exposes the State Assistance program to considerable risk and great uncertainty.

Talking Points:

• Adding a provision to the bill that specifies a minimum funding amount for the Stateside program will not increase the cost of the bill.
• Providing full and dedicated funding will not necessarily ensure increased funding for the State Assistance program.  Current statute only specifies that a "minimum of 40% must go to the Federal program."
• Without a minimum requirement for State Assistance (like the Federal program), it is at risk of being zeroed out by future Administrations as it has been in the past.  State and local communities must be afforded the same protection for their projects through the State Assistance program.
• The State Assistance program needs to be equitably funded in line with the original Act, which was originally authorized specifying 60% of LWCF funding would go to State Assistance and 40% to Federal. 
• This is not a Federal LWCF program vs. State Assistance LWCF program.   The State Assistance program helps NPS achieve its goals and objectives for a "seamless system of national parks" meaning a concept of local, regional, state and national parks working cooperatively together.
• This is not a partisan issue – stateside projects and funding benefit all districts in every community nationwide.
• Not every community has a national park, but every community does have a park or public recreation areas that have been funded by LWCF State Assistance.

For feedback from congressional offices and further assistance, please contact Michael Phillips or Joel Pannell at NRPA Public Policy, or call 202.887.0290.

From the National Recreation & Parks Association


x April 30, 2010 UPDATE: From the National Recreation and Park Association: The good news is that the President’s budget calls for $50 million in funding for LWCF State Assistance Program in FY 11, which is a $10 million increase over the amount appropriated in FY 10. The bad news is that the President’s budget only calls for $50 million in funding for the LWCF State Assistance Program, at a time when the National Park Service reports an unmet need of more than $12 billion for LWCF projects.

From National Recreation and Park Association (March 2009)
Current Need

Parks and recreation resources are important components to the economic vitality of communities throughout our county by improving health and wellness, advancing environmental education, increasing property values, attracting businesses and reducing air and water pollution. The growth of communities in recent years has expanded the significance of these resources and dramatically increased the demand for healthy active recreation opportunities, environmental stewardship, and safe, livable communities. Unfortunately, the National Park Service reports that our country is faced with $27 billion in unmet needs relative to outdoor recreation resources. This problem is further compounded by the 80% reduction in funding for the LWCF Stateside Assistance program that has occurred over the past 8 years. As result, communities throughout our country are faced with deteriorating recreation resources that threaten their health, safety and economic vitality


The Land and Water Conservation Fund Stateside Assistance (LWCF) program is a matching grant program that provides funding to state and local governments for the acquisition of land and the development of outdoor recreation areas and facilities. Grant recipients are required to match LWCF grants dollar for dollar and to keep the land and facilities in protected status in perpetuity and, therefore, open to the public forever for recreation and enjoyment. The purposes of the program is to meet state and local needs for outdoor recreation opportunities and to help strengthen the health and vitality of the American people by
collaborating with states and local governments to ensure access to close-to-home recreation resources.

Proven Success

Over the 44-year life of the program, LWCF Stateside Assistance program has created and rehabilitated parks, open space, playgrounds, wildlife habitat, and wetlands. The program has had extraordinarily broad reach during this time and has:

Return On Investment

The LWCF provides critical federal investments in America’s natural, cultural, and recreational heritage by acquiring and protecting public lands and developing new recreational facilities in the regional, state, and local parks near where 80% of Americans live. The LWCF federal program has added millions of acres to our national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, national historic and scenic trails, wild and scenic river corridors, Bureau of Land Management lands, and other federal lands. Most of the nation’s largest intact landscapes, historically important sites, and recreational areas are found on these public lands. The LWCF state assistance program has helped to develop thousands of trails, recreation fields, and other park facilities for Americans to use in their daily lives, as well as acquire new parks and recreation lands in every state in the nation.

The LWCF was created by Congress in 1965 and is authorized to receive $900 million annually from a portion of the federal revenues from oil and gas leasing of the Outer Continental Shelf. Unfortunately, the program has been woefully underfunded, receiving full funding only once in its multi-decade history. In the last eight years, funding has steadily declined, with a low of $150 million in 2008.

As a result, there is a substantial backlog of federal land acquisition needs estimated at more than $30 billion. The states also report a huge unmet need for local parks and recreation resources totaling more than $27 billion in eligible projects.

A recent national poll reports that a broad cross-section of the American public overwhelmingly supports preserving natural areas and open space. In addition, 81% of the public believes the continuance of a dedicated funding stream from federal oil and gas leasing should be used to fund the LWCF.

Jobs, Tourism, and Quality of Life: Visitor-driven business is important to local communities surrounding national parks and other public lands. Local economies are made more vibrant and resilient by the natural and cultural amenities and the abundant recreational opportunities provided by proximity to parks and public lands. These amenities greatly enhance communities’ quality of life, which in turn helps large and small localities to attract new residents and businesses and to generate tourism-related jobs and revenues.

A 2006 study by the National Parks & Conservation Association calculates that more than $13 billion flows into local communities and 250,000 private sector jobs are generated by national park visitation. National wildlife refuges provide essential habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife, a safe haven for endangered species, and hunting, fishing, and wildlife watching opportunities, while adding local economic benefits of $1.7 billion annually.

Public Health: Parks, trails, and open space promote healthy lifestyles. Whether it is close-to-home ball fields or trails, or large expansive wilderness areas, connecting people to recreation and outdoors activity promotes good health. Access to natural areas reduces stress, mitigates obesity and other health issues, connects families and communities, and enhances the quality of life for all Americans.

Clean Water: Protection of water supplies the old-fashioned way through watershed, forest, and wetland conservation, is the most cost-efficient way to ensure clean and adequate water supplies for communities. The value of water flowing through our national forests alone is $4.3 billion annually. Polling has found that 89% of Americans surveyed identify clean water and drinking supplies as their top conservation concern.

Hunting and Fishing: Hunters and anglers know how important land conservation is to outdoor recreation. Hunting and fishing has become an economic building block in our national economy generating more than 1.6 million jobs and more than $2 billion annually in salaries, wages, and business earnings. In 2006, more than $70 billion was generated in sportsmen-related retail sales. With the “ripple effect” this translates to more than $190 billion in total economic activity.

Fire Prevention: The escalating numbers of wildfires particularly in western states and associated fire fighting costs have devoured the budgets of the Forest Service and the BLM. Between 2002 and 2006, the federal government spent more than $6 billion fighting wildfires, primarily to protect private homes and property bordering public lands. Land acquisition and protection along the forested development edge of our communities is an essential tool to prevent forest fires.

Education: America’s parks provide students young and old with an opportunity to learn about our nation’s unique historical and cultural heritage. Our parks and public lands are outdoor classrooms where the learning experience never ends regardless of whether the lesson is about wildlife, history, geology or the environment. Children and families are able to connect to preserved landscapes in a hands-on manner they simply cannot receive by reading a textbook or watching a documentary.

Preserving America’s natural, cultural, historical, and recreational heritage: There are intangible and invaluable benefits in preserving public lands and telling the stories of our nation’s natural and cultural heritage. Whether it is viewing the night sky in Utah’s Zion’s National Park, hiking the Appalachian Trail, or studying the Civil War at Gettysburg National Military Park, the nation’s collective heritage is continually being preserved through public landscapes. Our state and local parks, trails, and greenways provide day-to-day getaways for children and families and complement our system of nationally protected landscapes.

x For More Information on LWCF: LWCF projects organized by state or county can be viewed at:




x Read more about current funding for trails, parks, outdoor recreation, and federal land management on the American Trails website:

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