PERC Executive Director Proposes Solutions to Bring the LWCF Into the 21st Century

Brian Yablonski testifies before the U.S. Senate on ways to improve the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

News for Immediate Release
June 25, 2019
Contact: Hannah Downey 406-587-9591, hannah@perc.org

(Washington, D.C.) – Brian Yablonski, PERC’s executive director, testified on Capitol Hill today on the future of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Yablonski appeared before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to discuss ways to improve the Land and Water Conservation Fund to address challenges facing our public lands in the 21st Century.

Yablonski explained that, as recreational demands grow and public lands face new challenges, federal land managers should have the flexibility to spend LWCF funds on the greatest needs on the ground. 

“The LWCF would benefit from more flexibility to the federal purposes component to address such needs, whether maintenance, land management, or other important conservation purposes,” Yablonski said.

He also emphasized the potential to involve the growing outdoor recreation sector in providing public lands funding.

“There is great opportunity to link funding to the burgeoning recreation sector,” noted Yablonski. “Tying some portion of LWCF funding to its beneficiaries, including hikers, kayakers, climbers, and wildlife watchers would benefit the program enormously.”

His testimony highlighted several key points:

  • Outdoor recreation on public lands has never been more popular, and the LWCF faces challenges and opportunities amid a changing recreation landscape.
  • Public land managers should have flexibility to use LWCF funds for their greatest conservation needs, including land management and maintenance.
  • Conservation and recreation funding models that incorporate outdoor recreation users are more stable, reliable, and significant than models reliant on politics.
  • LWCF land acquisitions and easements should strategically aim to open access to existing public lands.

Brian Yablonski’s full written testimony is available here, or see video of the hearing here.

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