Tester Calls For Continued Funding of Land and Water Conservation Program

Senator Joined by Bipartisan Group of Senators Committed to Expanding Public Access to Public Lands

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester, along with a bipartisan coalition of 47 others Senators, today urged 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 the Subcommittee begins considerations for the upcoming fiscal year. 

“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 conserve important lands for current and future generations,” the Senators wrote. “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 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.

“The programs funded by the LWCF, including Forest Legacy, the state-side program, endangered species grants, and battlefield protection,” the Senators continued, “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 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 support 9.4 million American jobs. The Forest Legacy Program assists states and private forest owners to maintain working forest lands.

Senator Tester recently introduced bipartisan legislation to permanently authorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and secured funding for a number of Montana-based LWCF projects in the most recent federal budget, including projects at Whitefish Lake, Madison River, Swan Valley, and Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.

The Senators’ letter can be found HERE.