Hunters and anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts owe Sen. Patty Murray a big thank you. She is co-sponsoring Senate Bill 338, which restores full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). If you have ever hunted at a wildlife area, visited a national park or forest or fished on a Wild and Scenic River, you have benefited from LWCF.
Funded through a small percentage of offshore oil and gas royalties, not taxpayer dollars, the LWCF has protected critical wildlife areas and created and enhanced outdoor recreation opportunities for almost 50 years. Unfortunately, it has never been fully funded and could disappear in 2015 without strong leadership from our elected officials.
It doesn’t matter whether you hunt, fish, hike, camp, kayak, bike, bird watch or just enjoy knowing these reserved public spaces are there, it’s part of our unique outdoor heritage here in Washington.
Without strong funding for conservation, Washington would miss both cultural and economic opportunities. The outdoors that are so fundamental to our identity also support a $22.5 billion outdoor recreation economy in our state. Murray’s leadership is a boon for all who treasure Washington’s outdoors.