A Look At the Importance Of the Land And Water Conservation Fund In New Mexico (And Why Congress Should Renew It)

Residents across New Mexico will usually agree that they’ve benefited greatly from the Land Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Come this September, the LWCF is set to expire. That’s why concerned citizens and local government officials are calling for congressional action.

The LWCF was established by Congress in 1964 with the goals of funding the creation and maintenance of outdoor recreation projects and open spaces for states, counties and local municipalities. The fund also helps with the acquisition and protection of federal lands and the preservation of historical sites. Those goals seem even more important now than when the LWCF was first signed into action.

The LWCF has generated $312 million dollars over the years to fund more than 1,200 projects.
The best part is that none of that funding came from tax payer dollars. It’s all acquired through royalties paid by oil and gas companies when they drill offshore.

While the LWCF reaches every state in the country, New Mexico is especially defendant upon the fund. Approximately 65% of all residents in New Mexico engage in some type of outdoor recreational activity, which translates to about 99,000 jobs in the outdoor industry and almost $10 billion per year in consumer spending. If the Land and Water Conservation Fund is not renewed in September by congress that revenue and the livelihoods of those employed in the field could be in jeopardy. Many organizations like the League of United Latin American Citizens and countless local business owners have already issued public statements in support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

New Mexico is seeing record visitation to its National monuments, and outdoor areas like Tingley Beach, the Organ Mountains and the Rio Charma Watershed provide experiences for residents and visitors year-round. If the Land and Water Conservation Fund is not reauthorized by Congress, New Mexico could lose its best device in protecting those areas, experiences and income. Farmers, ranchers, local businesses and everyone involved in the outdoor recreational industry are depending on the LWCF and it’s imperative that Congress renew the fund.