Latino Communities Call for Public-Lands Funding
LAS VEGAS — A major source of federal funding for public lands is set to expire this month, and Latino organizations are among those calling on Congress to act.
Since the 1960s, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has used revenue from offshore drilling to support public spaces, from national parks to community playgrounds - all at no cost to taxpayers. A new film, out this week from the Hispanic Access Foundation, highlights just how important these places are to the Latino community, says Rudy Zamora, program director at Chispa Nevada.
"Oftentimes, our communities are the ones that are out there enjoying the public lands,” Zamora said. “In Nevada specifically, we're out at Red Rock, we're at Mount Charleston. It provides a sense of belonging, it unifies our families. "
Zamora said everyone who appreciates public land in the U.S. - not just Latinos - should be concerned about the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The fund will expire September 30 if Congress does not act to reauthorize it.
Over more than 50 years, the LWCF has supported more than 40,000 public lands projects nationwide. It also has brought more than $100 million in funding to Nevada alone, according to the Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition.
The film, “Land, Water, y Comunindad,” highlights Nevada's Spring Mountain Ranch State Park just outside of Las Vegas. Chela Garcia Irlando, director of conservation with the Hispanic Access Foundation, said LWCF funding has helped make the park what it is.
"The Spring Mountain Ranch State Park has provided a place for Latino community members and families to enjoy this mini-oasis in the middle of the desert,” Irlando said.
“Land, Water, y Comunidad” is available now online at HispanicAccessFoundation.org, and will be shown at film festivals around the country.