For 45 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) directed offshore oil funds to improve recreational opportunities throughout the country. LWCF federal money permits agencies to acquire in-holdings and adjacent access when the property is for sale and a portion is specifically for sporting access on public lands.
State LWCF funds are matched with local money to build and enhance anything from boat launches to playgrounds. Recreational opportunities are vital to rural communities and our quality of life. Polls indicate 86 percent of us support this funding.
The LWCF has limited funding from a fraction of offshore funds. Actual funding has not neared the cap. With prompt action, we can do much more. The U.S. House has passed full and consistent funding for LWCF; now we need the Senate. If the Senate fails now, we start all over again, and our communities suffer.
Sens. Murray and Cantwell claim to care for our communities and our environment, but to date neither has signed on to co-sponsor the Senate version of the bill, S. 2747. Each of us can make a difference. We have a few days to phone or e-mail our senators for immediate action to fund LWCF.
Richard G. Mathisen