WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Yakima, is praising an announcement that almost $2 million will be given to Washington to help fund recreation and conservation projects.
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke recently announced $1.9 million will be given to Washington for outdoor recreation and conservation projects. The funds are distributed through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is funded through offshore oil and gas leasing. The funds are awarded via federal matching grants that sway public and private investment in state and local public parks.
In total, $94.3 million will be distributed in all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
“We must preserve and strengthen public access to our national and state parks and cultural heritage sites. LWCF has been a successful conservation program in Washington state to protect our most-treasured public lands,” Newhouse said.
Congress established the LWCF in 1965 as a way to provide outdoor recreation activities in the present and future. State and local governments can use the funds to work on existing projects and other recreation areas in communities through rehabilitation and upgrading projects. In addition, the funds can be used to create new parks, expand trail systems and create recreation opportunities.
According to the National Park Service, the LWCF program is typically divided into two categories: state side and federal side. In the state side, grants are provided to state and local governments. On the federal side, funds are used to acquire lands, waters and other interests that are determined to be necessary to achieve the goals of federal land management agencies.
“The benefits of this conservation program go even beyond protecting our natural environment for future generations to supporting thousands of jobs in our state. I am grateful to Secretary Zinke and President Trump for supporting LWCF funding for our state, and I will continue to push to improve access for hunting, fishing, and recreation in public lands for all citizens,” Newhouse remarked.
Through the years more than $4.1 billion has been directed to state and local governments through the LWCF program.