WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) joined a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers to announce major progress on legislation to fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and the Restore Our Parks Act to address the national parks maintenance backlog.
“Today we are taking a major step forward in our effort to fully, permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund—one of America's most successful conservation programs, and finally address the national park maintenance backlog. LWCF has helped preserve many treasured public lands—including the Valles Caldera, Ute Mountain, and Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico—that power our thriving outdoor recreation economy. It also protects our drinking water, provides public land access, and ensures there are neighborhood parks, soccer fields, and baseball diamonds for our children,” said Heinrich. “Our National Parks are uniquely American and offer endless opportunities to explore our nation's natural and historical treasures, and significantly boost local economies in their surrounding communities. I'm proud to help lead this bipartisan effort to address the parks maintenance backlog and invest in the infrastructure that improves access and visitor experience to all our public lands for generations to come.”
Senator Heinrich is part of a bipartisan group of senators that introduced the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at a level of $900 million. As part of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, which was enacted into law in March (Public Law 116-9), Congress permanently authorized the LWCF. However, expenditures from the LWCF must still be approved by Congress each year.
The bipartisan agreement announced today would also address the $12 billion maintenance backlog at national parks across the country to restore and rebuild roads, buildings, campgrounds, trails and water systems. Senator Heinrich has led efforts to address the maintenance backlog and invest in the National Park Service infrastructure to ensure our national parks are safe and accessible to the millions of visitors from near and far who pass through their gates each year.