As a volunteer for the West Virginians for Public Lands alliance, I love our state’s parks, forests, and public lands and try to keep up on the policies that impact them. I’m concerned about the expiration of the Land and Water Conservation Fund at the end of this month. LWCF provides support for recreation and conservation projects at all levels of government, funded by royalties from public offshore oil and gas leases - not taxpayers.
Raleigh County has received $1 million from the LWCF. This money has supported Lake Stephens Park, Fitzpatrick Park, New River Park, Sophia Park, and the Beckley Pool. Other improvements through LWCF included Little Beaver State Park and tennis courts at Crab Orchard and Thornhill Parks. LWCF has given $43 million to the New River Gorge, including projects at Sandstone Falls and Grandview. These LWCF investments make our region a desirable destination for new residents, businesses, and tourists.
The LWCF has also supported other “wild and wonderful” icons across the state, including Canaan Valley’s wildlife refuge, Harper’s Ferry, Seneca Rocks, and Monongahela National Forest. In total, LWCF has provided WV with over $240 million since the fund began in 1964.
You can learn more about LWCF, check out a map and a list of local projects at wvpubliclands.org, website of the West Virginians for Public Lands alliance.
The LWCF supports the outdoor recreation and public lands essential to West Virginians’ quality of life. The program expires September 30. Our congressional delegation needs to hear from us how important LWCF is to West Virginia so they will not let the deadline expire.
I hope you will take the time to let them know the importance of LWCF to our state.