On November 29th Western Senators Cory Gardner (CO) and Steve Daines (MT) led a group of bipartisan members of congress in calling for full funding and permanent re-authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Sen. Gardner made an impassioned call to action for his fellow U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives to stand up and fight for LWCF before the end of the year. Sen. Gardner called LWCF: “…the most important conservation program, this country has, the crown jewel of our conservation efforts at no cost to taxpayers.”
LWCF is critical for Western sportsmen and Western state economies. Gardner noted a recent news article which highlighted the large number of inaccessible acres of public land spread throughout the West. LWCF can be used to help open up access of these public lands for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation activities. Over 269,000 acres of federal public lands in Colorado are inaccessible, an area the size of Rocky Mountain National Park. Across the West number is estimated at 9.5 million acres of inaccessible federal public lands.
Creating access to these lands helps the rural economies of the Mountain West by letting them tap into the outdoor recreation economy’s huge annual estimated spend of nearly $900 billion and 7.5 million jobs.