Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - October 19, 2018 


Senator Corker demands the Trump administration share intelligence on the killing of a Washington Post columnist. Also on the Friday rundown: groups sue over the Texas border wall plan; and the soggy summer in some states may lead to higher pumpkin prices for Halloween.

Daily Newscasts

Veterans Speak Out for Public Lands Funding

Saguaro National Park is among many sites in Arizona to have received Land and Water Conservation Fund support. (Jimmy Thomas/Flickr)
Saguaro National Park is among many sites in Arizona to have received Land and Water Conservation Fund support. (Jimmy Thomas/Flickr)
July 25, 2018

PHOENIX - Veterans in Arizona and around the country are asking Congress to renew the fund that supports national parks, wildlife refuges, historic battlefields and other public spaces.

The Vet Voice Foundation this week released a position paper that calls for reauthorization and full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which since the 1960s has used revenue from offshore drilling to support tens of thousands of public land and water projects.

Veterans such as Army cavalry scout and sniper Garett Reppenhagen have said the fund is essential to the nation they fought to protect.

"It's a really great program and it costs taxpayers zero dollars to support," Reppenhagen said. "So it's a key program and it's had bipartisan support for a long time."

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is set to expire in September unless Congress acts. The Vet Voice Foundation has said it is critical not only to preserving historic military sites such as Gettysburg and the 9/11 Memorial, but also the outdoor recreation spaces that so many veterans and their families enjoy together.

Veteran Navy aviation electronics technician Gabrielle d'Ayr said hiking and getting outside is therapeutic for her, and that many veterans, either through formal outdoor recovery programs or just on their own, have found similar benefits from outdoor recreation.

"We're only really just now getting to understand the effects of PTSD, and the traumatic things that some of our soldiers see when they're actively serving their country," she said, "and a lot of them find solace in the land afterwards."

According to the Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition, $235 million in LWCF funding have been spent in Arizona, including protection for Grand Canyon and Saguaro national parks and Coconino National Forest.

The Vet Voice Foundation's position paper is online at vetvoicefoundation.org.

Katherine Davis-Young, Public News Service - AZ