On July 12, 2018, Senator Cory Gardner (CO) urged his colleagues in the U.S. Senate to permanently reauthorize the Land Water Conservation Fund (“LWCF”). Sen. Gardner took to the Senate floor to discuss the importance of LWCF and also signed on as a co-sponsor to S.569, which would authorize and fund the program. LWCF, which does not require any taxpayer dollars, is critical for western sportsmen and western state economies.
LWCF programs maintain critical infrastructure and open access to public lands in support of hunting, fishing, and other outdoor rec. activities that have become key economic drivers in Colorado and other western states. The outdoor recreation industry is estimated to have a total annual spend of $886.8 billion and drive over 7.5 million jobs across the country. In the Mountain West alone, the outdoor industry generates $104.5 billion in consumer spending, creates 925,000 jobs, and contributes $7.6 billion to state and local taxes.
LWCF has been in existence for 52 years. In Colorado, LWCF investments totaling over $265 million have helped preserve national treasures like Great Sand Dunes National Park and Rocky Mountain National Park but the program has also played a critical role in local parks, open spaces and education centers that connect the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts to the land.
The Western Way applauds Senator Gardner for his leadership on LWCF permanent authorization and full funding.