Forty-nine years ago – on Valentine’s Day 1963 – President John F. Kennedy sent a valentine to future generations when he sent a bill to Congress to create the Land and Water Conservation Fund. In his letter, President Kennedy noted the need for a program that would buy land and protect it for future generations.
When Congress finally created LWCF in 1965, it began a legacy of conservation that has lasted nearly half a century. The fund is based on a simple concept: take revenues from the depletion of one resource (offshore oil and gas) and use them to acquire parks, playgrounds, wildlife refuges, forests, historic sites, and recreation lands. And all this is done without spending a single tax dollar.
Every state, and nearly every county in the U.S., has benefited from this program. Here in Missoula, we are able to enjoy enhanced access to places like Mount Sentinel because of LWCF funding. We are glad that President Obama, like John F. Kennedy, has sent his own valentine to future generations by requesting $450 million in LWCF funding in the budget he sent to Congress yesterday including over $40 million to protect wildlife, recreation and working lands across the Crown of the Continent. These monies will go to protect the places we all love.
I can’t think of a better Valentine’s Day present.
Northern Rockies Director,
Trust for Public Land,