Public-Lands Bill Would Send Millions of Dollars to CA Parks
Thursday, February 21, 2019
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – If you've ever fished off a pier, swum in a public pool, played ball on a local field or hiked in a state park, you've likely benefited from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
That program could be permanently reauthorized next week as part of a massive public-lands package before the U.S. House.
The Natural Resources Management Act would expand Joshua Tree and Death Valley National Parks, add new off-road vehicle recreation areas in San Bernardino County, and add 80 miles of wild and scenic rivers, plus 700,000 acres of land to conservation and recreation areas across California.
J.R. Young, a California representative and board member of the group Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, says the fund has touched every corner of the state since its inception in 1964.
"There's not a county in California that has not benefited from a Land and Water Conservation project. The list is massive," Young says. "It's just one of those critical core funding components that unfortunately, not a lot of people know about."
Over the years, the fund has directed $2.4 billion to projects up and down the state, from Humboldt Redwoods State Park to the Lake Merritt bicycle path in Oakland, to a sports complex in Merced County, to Embarcadero Pier in San Diego.
The fund uses no taxpayer dollars, only revenues from offshore oil and gas drilling in federal waters.
Maite Arce, president and CEO of the Hispanic Access Foundation, says the thousands of local parks helped by the LWCF dollars are especially important to urban low-income communities. So, she thinks it is important to fully fund the program going forward.
"It's only been fully funded at its annual $900 million cap twice in 54 years," Arce explains. "So, on average, Congress authorizes Land and Water Conservation Fund to receive only about 46 percent of its allowed amount."
Its backers say the public-lands package also would greatly benefit California's $92 billion outdoor recreation industry. It passed the Senate last week by an overwhelming margin of 92 to 8.
get more stories like this via email
The coalition known as "Think Babies Michigan" has secured more than $36 million in funding to offer grants to child-care providers for infants and to…
Nearly 100 school board elections are coming up in Minnesota this fall, with some gaining attention because of the candidates who are running…
The so-called conservative "hostile takeover" of a small, progressive liberal arts college in Florida is seeing some resistance from former students …
High rent prices are draining the budgets of many Nebraska renters, who are paying between 30% and 50% of their income on rent. In some parts of the …
As the federal government nears a shutdown over a budget impasse in Congress, Wisconsin offices that help low-income individuals worry they'll have …
Indigenous leaders are traveling through the Northwest to highlight the plight of dwindling fish populations in the region. The All Our Relations …
Washington performs well in a new report scoring states' long-term care systems. The Evergreen State ranked second in AARP's Long-Term Services and …
A lack of housing options, mental-health challenges and a lack of connections and support have combined to drive an uptick in the number of foster …