Thanks to the Open Space Institute’s Outdoors America Campaign, the Land and Water Conservation Fund is now permanently guaranteed $900 million annually to protect America’s natural, recreational, and cultural resources.
Last summer, as the public was drawn to the outdoors in search of respite and a break from the daily stresses of the pandemic, landmark conservation legislation was enacted into law that finally secured full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
“In a wonderful sense of timing, as Americans were most in need of the land and all it offers, funding for the single most important land protection initiative in our nation’s history was made permanent,” says Kim Elliman, president and CEO of the Open Space Institute (OSI), which has been leading the fight to fully fund the LWCF for more than 10 years.
Thanks to the Open Space Institute’s Outdoors America Campaign (OAC), the LWCF is now permanently guaranteed $900 million annually to protect America’s natural, recreational, and cultural resources. This new funding commitment has been lauded as long overdue and as having enormous potential for impact across the nation. Passed with bipartisan support, the Great American Outdoors Act, which included the LWCF funding, is the most consequential environmental legislation since 1991.
“Securing permanent, full funding of LWCF is transformational,” says Lesley Kane-Szynal, who heads OSI’s Outdoors America Campaign and chairs the LWCF Coalition. “This once-in-a-generation achievement could not be better timed with a new and enthusiastic administration, and what became very clear over the past ‘pandemic year’ is that getting access to the outdoors is incredibly important to huge portion of the public. But there is more work to do. Implementation of the new law and ensuring LWCF meets its full potential in protecting the best of the best throughout America and improving the lives of people across the nation is both exciting and challenging.”