With authorizing legislation set to expire September 30, 2015 on the Land and Water Conservation Fund, one of the most beneficial federal programs in history for the outdoor recreation economy, the Idaho Outdoor Business Council is urging our Senators and Representatives to act quickly to pass legislation providing full funding and permanent reauthorization for this non-taxpayer funded program.
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Dear Senators Risch and Crapo,
We the undersigned Idaho business and recreation leaders write in support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and urge you to act quickly to pass legislation providing full, dedicated funding and permanent reauthorization for this critically important conservation tool before the current authorizing legislation expires on September 30.
LWCF supports the outdoor recreation economy in Idaho and is a vital investment in safeguarding and enhancing the economic asset our federal, state and local public lands represent. The parks, trails, forests, rivers, wildlife refuges, conservation areas and working lands sustained by LWCF funding support an outdoor recreation sector that according to the Outdoor Industry Assocation creates $6.3 billion in consumer spending in Idaho, 77,000 jobs across the state which generate $1.8 billion in wages and salaries, and produces nearly $461 million annually in state and local tax revenue. Our businesses and our customers rely on accessible, healthy public lands and waters that are supported and enhanced by LWCF.
In the five decades since LWCF was authorized, Idaho has received $234 million from the fund, protecting places such as the Boise Foothills, Sawtooth Valley and Hell’s Canyon National Recreation Areas, and the Middle Fork Clearwater and Middle Fork Salmon Wild and Scenic Riers. LWCF state assistance grants have further supported hundreds of local projects including the Boise Greenbelt and Wood River Trails, Coeur d’Alene’s Tubbs Hill and Sandpoint’s City Beach.
Sixteen Idaho projects are already recommended for LWCF funding in 2016, but support for these important recreation economy enhancements will only be possible with LWCF reauthorization.
Notably, LWCF accomplishes this without using a single taxpayer dollar. Congress created LWCF with a simple idea in mind: when we sell oil and gas that belongs to all Americans, at least a small portion of the proceeds should be reinvested in something of lasting value for us all. We believe this is sound policy and we urge enactment of full, permanent, and dedicated funding of LWCF in this critical reauthorization year.
Idaho Outdoor Business Council and it’s Member Companies
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell
USDA Under Secretary Robert Bonnie
Managing Director at the White House Council of Environment Quality Christy Goldfuss