On April 9, Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Vice-Chair Senator Joe Manchin (WV) and CSC Member Senator Cory Gardner (CO) introduced S. 1081 to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
LWCF was first enacted in 1965 to provide funding for voluntary, collaborative recreation and conservation projects on public and private lands. Since enactment, LWCF has provided $17.5 billion in funding for over 40,000 recreational and conservation projects in every county in the country. LWCF is authorized at $900 million annually, however, Congress has only fully appropriated the authorized amount one time since the program was established. S. 1081 will permanently fund LWCF at $900 million for federal, state, and local recreation and conservation projects.
Earlier this year, President Trump signed into law S. 47, the John Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, which permanently reauthorized LWCF without dedicated funding. S. 47 included a provision within the permanent reauthorization of LWCF (Sec. 3001) that requires 3% or $15 million - whichever is greater - of funds appropriated to LWCF be made available for the purpose of securing additional access for hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and other outdoor related activities (see Making Public Lands Public Initiative). Recent studies estimate there are nearly 10 million acres of public lands in the west that are open to sporting activities, but the general public is currently unable to access these due to a number of reasons. If enacted, S. 1081 would provide $27 million to increase public access for sportsmen and women to lands and waters that are currently inaccessible.
S. 1081 has been referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee where it awaits further action.
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- Improve hunter and target shooter involvement in regulatory and legislative processes. (13.89%)
- Enact or expand temporary hunter education deferral programs (apprentice license programs, multiyear options, programs for all first-time hunters regardless of age, and programs promoting hunting of multiple game species). (12.50%)
- Offer shooting sports and hunter education as school activities and recreation programs. (59.72%)
- Link existing programming into family-oriented organizations (such as churches and home-school groups) where participants will have the social support to continue. (13.89%)