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Public Lands Bill Would Benefit Nevada Outdoor Recreation

Congress Allowed The Land And Water Conservation Fund To Lapse Last Fall

February 22, 2019 - 1:26 pm

CARSON CITY, NV (KXNT) - the Land and Water Conservation Fund may finally be permanently reauthorized as part of the large public lands bill expected to be up for a vote in the U.S. House next week.

A program that has brought more than 100-million dollars to Nevada parks and other outdoor destinations over the years comes up for permanent reauthorization in the U-S House next week. Congress allowed the Land and Water Conservation Fund to lapse last fall but revived it in the Natural Resources Management Act, which recently passed the Senate with a vote of 92-8. Tracy Stone-Manning with the National Wildlife Federation said the country is ready to support this bipartisan bill.

"In a time when our country is so divided, this one issue, the ability to bring people together around public lands, around protection of our wildlife, has punched through as something that is so uniquely and beautifully American that it has brought the Senate together," said Stone-Manning. "We're hoping it does the House as well," she added.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund has been around since the 1960s. It has funded hundreds of parks, pools, ball fields and outdoor-recreation areas in Nevada, including the Valley of Fire, Cathedral Gorge, and Cave Lake state parks, and Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area. According to the L-W-C-F Coalition, Nevada's outdoor-recreation economy generates 12-point-six billion dollars a year and supports 87-thousand jobs.

Land Tawney, CEO of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers said he's optimistic that the House will pass the bill and the president will sign it, then, he'd like to see it fully funded in the next budget.

"If this passes in the Senate, and hopefully in the House, we will have the number-one access tool in perpetuity. Then, we can start talking about funding and progress on the ground. But I think that's a huge win for not only hunters and anglers, but anybody that recreates outdoors," said Tawney.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund does not rely on taxpayer dollars, but on revenues from offshore oil and gas leases in federal waters.