100 Days and Counting: Nevadans Aim to Save LWCF
Thursday, June 21, 2018
LAS VEGAS — To kick off a 100-day campaign to save the Land and Water Conservation Fund, some Nevada business owners and outdoor enthusiasts are in Washington, D.C., meeting with lawmakers.
For more than 50 years, LWCF has brought millions of dollars to Nevada for public lands and recreation projects, using funds from offshore drilling. Eric Larsen is owner and race director of Bristlecone Events, a Las Vegas company that organizes outdoor races and competitions. He said as fast as the state is growing, people's quality of life is a huge concern that LWCF projects address directly.
"What they want to see is similar to what they're used to from wherever they're coming from - things like parks and trails, and accessibility. And universally, people can agree that those are good for families, good for business, good for recreation and health,” Larsen said. “And there really isn't a downside to any of that. "
Larsen and other Nevadans met Wednesday with Reps. Ruben Kihuen and Jacky Rosen, and will meet with the rest of the delegation today. He described the response so far as "very positive."
The Land and Water Conservation Fund officially expires at the end of September if Congress doesn't act to reauthorize it.
On Wednesday, in a rare show of bipartisanship on the U.S. Capitol lawn, eight members of Congress voiced their support for keeping the LWCF — and for keeping it funded. Mark Tercek, president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy, told the crowd it's become part of the nation's economic engine.
"These leaders understand that LWCF and all access to public lands provides all Americans a critical underpinning to the recreational economy,” Tercek said. “It's worth something like $900 billion a year."
In most years, Congress raids some of the Land and Water Conservation Fund income to spend on other priorities. The current push is not only to reauthorize the program, but to fully fund it.
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