Congress missed chance to protect outdoor and recreation heritage
August 17, 2012 · Updated 12:04 PM
Congress missed an historic opportunity to protect our outdoor and recreation heritage recently. Despite the outstanding leadership of our representative, Dave Reichert, and broad support across the Congress, a provision to fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund was stripped during final negotiations on the federal transportation bill.
The LWCF provides grant funds to protect our local parks, recreation opportunities and wildlife habitat – places like Lake Sammamish State Park and Snoqualmie National Forest.
For me and fellow hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts, the access that the fund provides to enjoy public lands is invaluable. When we enjoy the outdoors, it boosts local economies; a report by the Outdoor Industry Association found that outdoor recreation contributes $256 billion to the Western economy each year.
The program doesn’t even use taxpayer dollars. It’s is funded from a fraction of the proceeds from federal offshore oil and gas leasing royalties.
I’m proud that my congressman fought to protect our hunting, fishing and love-of-the-outdoors traditions for the next generation, and I hope he continues to work to make sure the fund receives funds it deserves. This program is too important to our economy and quality of life and that is something we can all get behind.
Marci Stokke, Sammamish