Bipartisan Coalition of Senators Call for Continued Funding of Land and Water Conservation Program

Letter led by Senators Collins, Shaheen, Burr, Tester, Gardner and Bennet urge continued commitment to outdoor access for all Americans

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 conserve 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 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

The senators’ letter can be found HERE.

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).

Other senators who signed the letter are: Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tom Carper (D-DE), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Steve Daines (R-MT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Edward Markey (D-MA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Michael Crapo (R-ID), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Al Franken (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Angus King (I-ME), James Risch (R-ID), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Coons (D-DE), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Mark Warner (D-VA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), and Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV).