America’s most important conservation and recreation program will expire in less than a year unless Congress acts. For 52 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has protected national parks and open spaces in every corner of the United States. But in less than 52 weeks, it could be gone forever and along with it, future protection of the places we love. LWCF is set to expire on September 30, 2018. That’s why Conservation Voters New Mexico (CVNM) has joined our national partner the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and state partners across the country in a $1 million campaign calling on Congress to reauthorize and fully fund America’s best parks program.

Part of LCV’s ongoing “Our Lands, Our Voice” campaign to fight the Trump administration’s myriad attacks on public lands, the new effort to save LWCF will mobilize supporters across the country through online organizing and grassroots mobilization to share stories about how the program has created parks in their communities.

LWCF has invested more than $312 million to protect New Mexico’s open spaces, national trails, and increase recreation access. From national wildlife refuges and national forests to ballfields and community parks, LWCF has protected places like Cibola National Forest, Petroglyphs National Monument, Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River, Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park, and Eagle Nest Lake Park.

New Mexico’s $9.9 billion outdoor recreation industry is an economic powerhouse – supporting 99,000 jobs which generate $2.8 billion in wages and salaries and produces $623 million annually in state and local tax revenue.

Taos Valley, Rio Grande del Norte National Monument Credit: The Trust for Public Land

Rio Grande del Norte National Monument
Created in 2013, the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument was established to protect its scenic and historic values, safeguard public access, and support the region’s recreation economy. There has been over $9 million in LWCF investment in what is now Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, including the protection of Ute Mountain, the Taos Valley Overlook and most recently, the addition of 2,500 acres inside the monument. This project in 2016 prevented potential development, significantly improved public access to the monument, and protected important elk migration habitat. The Rio Grande del Norte National Monument has been used for generations by Native American and Hispanic people for hunting, grazing, and gathering, and is now also a recreation destination for hikers, campers, and paddlers.

 

“To grow up healthy, kids need a clean, beautiful, and accessible outdoors where they can play and discover the amazing world around them. Fortunately, New Mexico has numerous spectacular outdoor areas that have been protected thanks to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is set to expire this September. We can’t let that happen. In the bipartisan spirit that has characterized the LWCF since its inception, Congress must come together to reauthorize and fully fund this great provider of public lands access and enjoyment,” – James Jimenez, Executive Director, New Mexico Voices for Children.

 

Gila National Forest
Famous for being the workplace of Aldo Leopold and America’s first designated, wilderness, the Gila National Forest is a treasure of New Mexico. It has received over $6 million in LWCF investment, protecting access to the forest, preventing incompatible development, and providing recreation opportunities. In 2016, 605 acres on Upper Bear Creek were protected using LWCF funding which included a mile of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail and two miles of the Trail of the Mountain Spirits National Scenic Byway. The Gila National Forest provides ample outdoor recreation opportunities including horseback riding, fishing, hiking, and camping.
#SaveLWCF to save the places we love in New Mexico!
www.lwcfcoalition.org/lwcf52weeks/

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