March 05, 2020

Manchin, Bipartisan Colleagues Applaud President's Support for Full, Permanent LWCF Funding

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) held a press conference with his bipartisan colleagues announcing that President Trump will support their legislation to provide full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and to address the $12 billion maintenance backlog in our national parks through the Great American Outdoors Act, introduced yesterday. On April 9, 2019 Senator Manchin introduced the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act to fully and permanently fund LWCF. His bill was passed by the Energy and Natural Resources Committee on November 19, 2019.

“I started working to secure permanent funding the day after we passed permanent authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund last year. I am excited to see there is such broad bipartisan support to secure full, permanent funding for LWCF and address the maintenance backlog across all of our national parks and treasured public lands. Every state and territory and nearly every county in our country has benefited from LWCF funding. This is an historic achievement for conservation and a testament to the strong, bipartisan work we can do when we put politics aside to do what is best for our country,” said Senator Manchin.

Since 1965, $243 million of LWCF funds have been spent to enhance recreation and conservation just in West Virginia and has been used to provide public access and protect many of West Virginia’s most popular recreation sites such as Dolly Sods, every access point on the Lower Gauley River, and has protected 57,000 acres in the Gauley River and the New River Gorge area. National park lands in West Virginia also benefit from this bill. The Harpers Ferry National Historical Park has nearly $10.5 million in deferred maintenance needs and the New River Gorge National River has just over $21 million in deferred maintenance needs.

“The Land Water Conservation Fund and the Restore our Parks Act are essential to increasing access to the public lands and resources our industry depends on,” said MRAA President, Matt Gruhn. “The over $30 billion backlog in federal conservation projects, and upwards of $11 billion backlog in maintenance and repair projects in our National Parks, significantly affect rural economies, and  recreational boaters’ and anglers’ ability to take part in the activities they enjoy.  We thank Senators Gardner and Manchin for supporting our industry, and ask Congress to fully fund these important programs.”

“The Restore Our Parks Act offers innovative solutions and sustainable funding that will address the deferred-maintenance backlog on federal lands, which is critical to improving and expanding national campgrounds,” said Craig Kirby, RV Industry Association President. “Campgrounds on federal lands are currently showing distressing signs of wear: crumbling roads and bridges; deferred maintenance needs; and limited camping availability, jeopardizing not only the RV industry but the entire outdoor recreation industry. We are encouraged by the support of this legislation and ask Congress to pass this bill without delay.”

The entire press conference can be viewed here.