McSally, Sinema Must Support Land And Water Conservation Fund

(Photos courtesy U.S. House of Representatives)

Dear Editor,

Arizona’s public lands and parks, including the Grand Canyon, wouldn’t be what they are today without the vital support from America’s best conservation and recreation program: the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

Fifty-five years ago, the LWCF was created as a bipartisan effort to protect and maintain local, state, and national public lands and waterways. The money that has gone into it has supported everything from Saguaro National Park to local recreation centers, state parks and baseball fields. Earlier this year the program was permanently reauthorized. No longer will Congress need to renew it every few years, and no longer will it lapse entirely — which has happened on more than one occasion.

That being said, re-authorization doesn’t mean anything if funds aren’t allocated to the program. Each year, $900 million is designated for the program, but only twice has Congress fully funded it. A total of $22 billion has been diverted to other projects.

This winter there will be yet another vote to decide if the LWCF receives the funding it needs to run successfully. Our federal leaders, including Senator Flake and Senator McCain, have supported funding the program in the past. For the sake of our public parks, we need to maintain that legacy.

That is why I ask Senator McSally and Senator Sinema to fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Because our public lands deserve full support now, and for future generations.

Adair Andre
Tucson, AZ