Land and Water Conservation Fund set to expire | AspenTimes.com

Land and Water Conservation Fund set to expire

Bargain, sale, 50 percent off, prices slashed, words all Americans like to hear. A better word, for wise consumers, is the word free, which describes the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). In 1965, a bipartisan group of both the House and the Senate sought to create and maintain quality recreation areas and facilities across the United States, thus the LWCF was formed. Monies from the LWCF would be used to provide federal, state and local governments the ability to acquire land, water, forests, wildlife refuges and other public and national areas.

Many areas of public land in Colorado are inaccessible due to intermingling with private lands. This is known as "checkerboarding." LWCF monies have been used often to make land purchases to increase outdoor enthusiasts public land access.

The LWCF receives money from oil and gas leases on the continental shelf miles off shore. Congress, in 1964 particularly, appeared quite wise. There were numerous recommendations they wanted for the LWCF, with the first being: "The United States should establish a national recreation policy to preserve, develop and make accessible to all Americans the resources needed for individual enjoyment and to assure the physical, cultural and spiritual benefits of outdoor recreation.

For every LWCF $1 invested the return is $4 of economic value to Colorado's recreational benefit. Colorado's outdoor recreation economy generates 229,000 direct jobs, $28 billion in consumer spending, $9.7 billion in wages and $2 billion in taxes.

The original LWCF annual level was set at $900 million and was entirely used for you twice in its history. Congress has appropriated about half of the total every year to other congressional needs or desires.

The LWCF is set to expire in September 2018. Let your congressional representative know you want LWCF to be permanently reauthorized.

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Rick Seymour

Colorado Board

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