Land And Water Conservation Fund

A map of the United States showing where the U.S. Forest Service has purchased land with LWCF funds.
Government Accountability Office


A report released last month from the U.S. Government Accountability Office found a majority of land purchased by the U.S. Forest Service using Land and Water Conservation funds was in the west, which goes against LWCF guidelines.

A panel of people in a room.
Kayla Desroches / Yellowstone Public Radio

 

Edit December 19, 2019: A former version of this article misstated the date of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources considered the bill on full and permanent LWCF funding. The commitee heard the bill November 19.

Some businesses in Billings are calling for Congress to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund. They say access to the outdoors helps them recruit and keep employees in eastern Montana.

Kayla Desroches / Yellowstone Public Radio News

Correction December 12, 2019: This article has been updated to include that Sen. Jon Tester is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Environmental advocates and political leaders across Montana are pushing for full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million, an amount the country hasn’t been close to since 1998.

A land conservation group says it has helped ensure that 7,300 acres of land in western Montana’s Blackfoot River corridor remains in public hands.

The Nature Conservancy says the acquisition, just east of Missoula in the Belmont Creek area, is due in large part to funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. LWCF uses royalties from offshore oil and gas development to fund outdoor projects.

Larry Barnes LB9 / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

A U.S. Senate committee on Tuesday advanced a bill that would mandate full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million annually.

The U.S. Interior Department approved a plan to purchase 7,300 acres of former private timber lands northeast of Missoula. 

The former Plum Creek Timber company property was acquired by The Nature Conservancy in 2014. And now, as part of a deal several years in the works, that non-profit is selling it to the Bureau of Land management for $5.6 million.

Montana’s senior U.S. Senator Jon Tester met with constituents at a town hall event Friday in Missoula. About 150 people packed into one of the meeting rooms in Missoula’s Holiday Inn Parkside Friday to interact with Tester.

The town hall was an open door event with no invite needed. It was his second in person town hall of the year and his ninth since President Trump took office.

Woman Fishes On The Missouri River
Bureau of Land Management / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

A U.S. House committee on Wednesday advanced a bill to permanently and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

The bill, sponsored by Democratic Representative Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, would make $900 million available for expenditure annually.

The LWCF uses royalties from offshore oil and gas development to buy lands and make them public, and to fund other outdoor amenities, like fishing access sites along the Missouri River in Montana.

USDA/Public Domain

Democratic Senator Jon Tester hosted a town hall in Bozeman Tuesday where he answered questions about immigration, healthcare and climate change — among other hot topic issues.

An important but little-known public lands fund expired this weekend. 

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