Conservation: Montana Wildlands and Parks

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Conservation: Montana Wildlands and Parks
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Jacob W. Frank

The Land and Water Conservation Fund helps protect Montana wildlands at no cost to taxpayers.

Montana’s—and America’s—most important program for protecting parks is in danger due to insufficient funding and political attacks.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund helps get Montanans outside by funding conservation projects in places like the Rocky Mountain Front and Glacier National Park. LWCF also creates local parks, ballfields and recreation centers, paying for more than 800 projects in Montana alone. Thanks to the LWCF, these projects come at no cost to taxpayers.

This program is a win-win for Montanans, but there are unceasing attempts in Congress to drain LWCF’s money. As new pressures intrude on our parks, the program is needed more than ever. We are working toward permanent, full funding and reauthorization for LWCF.

Why this issue matters

The Land and Water Conservation Fund has helped pay to protect or ensure access to iconic places like the Greater Yellowstone along with local parks. At no cost to taxpayers, it has been used to conserve grassland grizzly bear habitat and keep cherished fishing spots open, among many other successes.

$500 million invested in Montana
Since its start, LWCF has been a powerhouse for conservation in Montana.
800 + city parks, trails and ball fields
Lands that have been funded with LWCF dollars across Montana.
70% of businesses in Montana
Businesses that cite access to the outdoors as a major factor in their decision to expand or invest.

The threat

Billions of dollars have been diverted from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) by Congress over the course of the program’s life to pay for unrelated expenses, leaving many outdoor projects in Montana unfinished and parcels of land unprotected.

LWCF is not paid for by taxpayers. Instead, it is funded by revenues from companies that drill for oil and gas off our shores. This money goes into a trust to protect national parks, local parks and other shared places. In recent years, Congress has kept funding far short of the fully authorized level, even as lands are becoming developed or fragmented. For example, a priority LWCF project to protect land within the Kootenai National Forest and prevent development could be in limbo if LWCF is not fully funded. Continued funding shortages also endanger community projects like bicycle trails and local parks.

We are working with lawmakers to permanently reauthorize LWCF with full, dedicated funding, benefitting projects in Montana and across the U.S.

What we're doing

  1. Influencing decision makers in Washington

    We’re working to educate and persuade members of Congress to support full, dedicated funding and permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

  2. Rallying public support

    We’re working with Montanans to tell the stories of LWCF’s benefits in Montana to ensure it has ongoing support that reflects its wide range of success stories in the state.

What you can do
Tell elected officials to support full funding and permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Act now