WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, Mar. 12, in a historic demonstration of bipartisan governing President Donald J. Trump signed into law the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act, protecting millions of acres of land and hundreds of miles of wild rivers across the country, establishing five new national monuments and permanently reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Maite Arce, President and CEO of Hispanic Access Foundation, released the following statement:
“This was a historic day for public lands and a victory for all Americans. With this important milestone, our nation is closer than ever to fulfilling the promise to the American people of conserving our public lands, preserving our cultural heritage and historically significant places, and ensuring that everyone has access to these treasured places that drive recreation and tourism economies across the country. This ends the cycle of uncertainty that plagued one of America’s most effective conservation programs.
“More than 50 years ago, Congress created LWCF as a bipartisan commitment to safeguard natural areas, water resources and our cultural heritage, and to provide recreation opportunities to all Americans. Since then, LWCF has funded tens of thousands of parks and projects throughout the country. Whether it’s developing a community pool, creating green space in the desert or strengthening our national parks, LWCF is one of the most critical tools for creating access to the outdoors, especially for diverse and urban communities, and protecting the places we love.
“We applaud the signing of the decade’s largest public lands package, which ensures the future of LWCF. We also take this opportunity to thank everyone who acted in support of this legislation to protect our nation’s great outdoors.
“Americans of all stripes reap the benefits of our public lands and our country’s colorful, multicultural history is reflected in our landscapes because of LWCF. Now, we can celebrate that our future generations will have access to the same iconic landscapes and outdoor opportunities we enjoy today. While we applaud the permanent reauthorization of LWCF, we will continue to highlight the need for permanent full dedicated funding of the program to ensure that all communities benefit from this important program.”
For over half a century, LWCF has successfully safeguarded countless acres of natural resources, enhanced access to public lands, preserved our historical legacy, and supported local economies by boosting tourism. To this day, LWCF has helped protect more than 100 national battlefields in 42 states, supported over 42,000 parks and recreation projects across the country, in addition to helping protect more than 2.2 million acres of national parks.
Hispanic Access explores the relationship Latino and diverse communities have with LWCF in the film Land, Water y Comunidad and through a whitepaper of the same name that profiles ten LWCF locations around the country and why the fund’s support matters.