NPCA urges Congress to dedicate full funding to one of our nation's most important conservation tools protecting public lands from incompatible development.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is an important source of public financing. Congress specifically established this trust fund in 1965 to protect some of America’s most vulnerable public lands. This conservation program has become one of our country’s most important tools for preserving the integrity of our national parks.

When national park sites are designated, private landowners sometimes still hold parcels inside their borders. If these private landowners eventually want to sell their property, the Land and Water Conservation Fund provides a small portion of federal income from offshore drilling royalties to allow land agencies like the National Park Service to buy these lands from these willing sellers, based on the philosophy that if you take something from the public domain (through drilling on the outer continental shelf), something should also be returned. Without this funding, these lands can be sold for incompatible development projects such as trophy homes, mini-marts or gas stations.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund has helped protect the integrity of countless areas within America’s National Park System. For example, it prevented the building of subdevelopments and a golf course in Golden Gate Recreational Area. It protected core battlefield areas in River Raisin National Battlefield Park. And it allowed for the successful protection of the Flight 93 National Memoria and areas within Grand Teton National Park.

In February 2019, Congress passed a large public lands bill with a provision to permanently authorize the program, ensuring it will remain in perpetuity. However, the annual funding for this important program remains inconsistent and uncertain. It is authorized to receive $900 million annually but has received that full amount only once. Despite having an established revenue source, the funding is still subject to the annual spending process and therefore competes with other priorities that are difficult to fund. As a result, over more than five decades, Congress has diverted more than $20 billion in revenue from the program to other purposes.

Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle support this important program and want a more dependable revenue source. That’s why Senator Manchin and Representative Van Drew, with the support of many bipartisan members of Congress, introduced the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act (S. 1081/H.R.3195). The bill would ensure that the full $900 million annually would be dedicated to the program to ensure more dependable protections for our national parks and other public lands.

NPCA strongly urges Congress to pass this bill and keep some of America’s most irreplaceable lands safe from development and incompatible use.

This popular program doesn’t just protect these special places. It also allows for public access and enjoyment, and that helps bolster the recreational and tourism economy, creating four dollars in economic value for every dollar invested. It’s an effective tool that has been protecting parks for more than 50 years.

Effort-to-date

  • 12,700 Wrote Congress to Support LWCF

    Sep 2015

    Park advocates contacted their members of Congress and urged them to support the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

  • More Than 100 Contact Congress for LWCF

    Oct 2015

    NPCA supporters contacted members of Congress and urged them to reauthorize and reinvest in the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

  • 16,300 Wrote Congress in Support of LWCF

    Apr 2018

    Park advocates nationwide urged their members of Congress to co-sponsor legislation that fully funds and permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

  • Nearly 12,000 Urged Congress to Reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund

    Sep 2018

    Park advocates nationwide took action to protect vulnerable lands in and around national parks by urging Congress to renew and fully fund LWCF.

Sign Up

Get Action Alerts

action alerts graphic

Want national parks in your inbox? Sign up for NPCA email updates to receive news, features, and opportunities to make a difference! You can unsubscribe at any time.