The Land and Water Conservation Fund (“LWCF”) is the primary source of federal money that pays for improvements to public lands. Many of the country’s most spectacular landscapes — places like Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain National Park, the Boundary Waters — have all been supported through this program.
Closer to home, more than $213 million has come to Illinois through the LWCF, including $33 million spent in Cook County alone. Starved Rock State Park, the Illinois Prairie Path, Deer Grove East Forest Preserve, Volo Bog, Chain’O’Lakes State Park, the I&M Canal trail system, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, Illinois Beach State Park, Kennicott Grove, and park districts from Chicago to Highland Park to Naperville have all received funding to improve how we experience the outdoors.
None of this money has come out of tax payers’ pockets – all of it is funded through royalties paid by oil and gas companies.
The LWCF is a shining example of bipartisan cooperation. That is because the LWCF helps to improve health outcomes in urban communities and expand hunting and fishing opportunities in rural areas. It has also added thousands of jobs to the economy and generates more than $2 in economic activity for every $1 it spends.
But now, the LWCF will expire on October 1 unless Congress acts to keep it. Two bills (S. 896 and H.R. 502) will permanently reauthorize the LWCF, while S. 569 would also fully fund it. Support from Illinois’ members of Congress are critical to passing these bills.
Tell Congress to Save the LWCF