On March 12, 2019, President Trump signed into law a sweeping public lands package that included a permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). This is the result of years of efforts by Congressional champions, such as North Carolina’s U.S. Senator Richard Burr.
The significance locally is that LWCF is really the only federal grant program for community parks. LWCF’s State Assistance Program provides formula funding to all 50 states in dollar-for-dollar matching grants for state and local governments to acquire and develop outdoor parks. In North Carolina it is known as the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF). In addition to the permanent reauthorization, the public law also specifically allocated 40% percent of LWCF funds to the State Assistance Program, which historically has been 25% or less.
In addition to authorization, federal programs must be appropriated. Although LWCF is funded by revenues from offshore oil and gas royalty payments, which should have easily met the $900 million authorization that was first set in 1978, annual appropriations have normally not exceeded $450 million. Now Senator Burr has joined a bipartisan group of Senators to introduce the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act (S. 1081), legislation to permanently fund LWCF at the $900 million level.
Senator Burr said “I am proud this popular and effective program has finally been made permanent, but we still have to make sure it has the resources necessary to carry out its important work. This bill permanently secures adequate funding for LWCF – without costing American taxpayers a dime.”
For more information, contact CCOG’s federal advocate and consultant, Leslie Mozingo of Strategics Consulting at (202) 255-5760 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For help with your parks and recreation needs, contact CCOG’s Project Manager Bobby Williams at (704) 688-7036 or email@example.com.