New Report Underscores Importance of LWCF Sites for Latino and Diverse Communities

The Land and Water Conservation Fund Expires on Sept. 30 without Action from Congress

WASHINGTON, DC – As the Land and Water Conservation Fund is only days from expiration, the Hispanic Access Foundation released a new report “Land, Water y Comunidad,” which highlights 10 places around the country that demonstrate the importance of LWCF to Latino and other diverse communities. As a follow up to the HAF film of the same name, the report underscores the connection communities have to the federal, state and local sites and projects the fund has supported in its 54-year history and promotes the need for the fund to be permanently reauthorized and fully funded.

“For many Latinos and other diverse urban communities, sites funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund often provide their only means to experience the outdoors,” said Maite Arce, president and CEO of Hispanic Access. “From having places to connect with nature, spend time with family, enjoy outdoor recreation or explore their cultural heritage, LWCF isn’t just about protecting pieces of land or providing specific resources for development, it’s about the connection we have with these places and what they represent for each individual. These sites matter to people – and the loss of the program would be felt for generations to come.”

LWCF is funded through oil and gas royalties, which is capped at $900 million annually. However, because Congress must authorize and allocate funds to the program each year, the LWCF has only been fully funded twice in its 54-year history and in total has only received about 46 percent of the funds promised. When it originally passed in 1964, it was done so for a 50-year period. When it expired and came up for reauthorization in 2015, Congress temporarily addressed the issue by reauthorizing for a short 3-year period, leaving it to expire September 30, 2018.

“LWCF has touched the lives of so many across the nation – you likely live mere minutes from a site supported by it. To let such a valuable and effective conservation tool expire would be a tragedy that would reverberate through future generations,” said Arce. “LWCF represents a promise to the American people to conserve our public lands and water resources and ensure that everyone has access for generations to come. Let’s make sure we keep that promise.”

The 10 sites presented in Land, Water y Comunidad are:

  • #1: Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park (Florida)
    Off the coast of Miami, this island park helps preserve diverse ecology, while providing locals with a place to recreate through biking, hiking and kayaking.
     
  • #2: Roberto Clemente State Park (New York)
    In the heart of the Bronx, this park provides the diverse urban community with a shared community space the promotes sports and recreation.
     
  • #3: Apodaca Park (New Mexico)
    One of the largest city parks in Las Cruces, this park is the hub of activity from birthday parties to soccer games and provides the community with great outdoor amenities.  
     
  • #4: Chino Hills State Park (California)
    This park provides an array of outdoor activities for millions of people in Southern California and helps its visitors unplug from city life and connect with nature.
     
  • #5: Spring Mountain Ranch State Park (Nevada)
    In the desert community of Las Vegas, this state park provides a unique green space against a red-rocked backdrop that the community can use for picnics, sports and gatherings.
     
  • #6: John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge (Pennsylvania) 
    This refuge, which protects a vital tidal basin, resides in Philadelphia and provides easy access to the outdoors for the city’s diverse communities.
     
  • #7: Art Dague Pool and Waterslide (Colorado)
    In rural cities like Rifle, the availability of community amenities may be lacking, but this city pool provides its youth with a place to stay active and connect with friends.
     
  • #8: Jose Marti Riverfront Park (Florida)
    This Miami park not only provides the city community with outdoor space, but it also helps to celebrate the cultural heritage for many in the community.
     
  • #9: Sand to Snow National Monument (California)
    This monument provides greater access for hunters and recreationists to public lands in the California desert.
     
  • #10: Aztlan Park (Colorado)
    This neighborhood park provides a hub for recreation, gathering and connecting in this Denver community with a growing and diverse Latino population.
     
  • BONUS: Everglades National Park (Florida)
    Like other national parks, Everglades benefits from LWCF support. From maintenance and restoration to acquiring land, the fund is a critical resource for these national gems.

“More than 50 years ago, Congress created the fund as a bipartisan promise to safeguard this country’s natural areas, water resources cultural heritage and economies,” said Arce. “Now is the time for Congress to set aside politics again and stand up for the vast majority of Americans and all our diverse communities who agree that the Land and Water Conservation Fund is essential to protecting the places we love and the way of life future generations deserve. It’s time for LWCF to be permanently reauthorized and fully funded.”

The full report, which details each location, is available for download at https://bit.ly/2zsE6hW.

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