On June 12, Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Congressman Jeff Van Drew (NJ) introduced H.R. 3195, a bill to provide permanent, dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
The bill has been referred to the House Natural Resources Committee where it awaits further action.
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. H.R. 3195 will permanently fund LWCF at the full authorized amount at $900 million for federal, state, and local recreation and conservation projects.
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, H.R. 3195 Hwould provide $27 million to increase public access for sportsmen and women to lands and waters that are currently inaccessible.
LWCF was permanently reauthorized in March without dedicated funding as part of S. 47 – the John Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?