On February 14, the 50th anniversary of its original introduction, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators introduced S.338, to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a public land acquisition program that has helped protect places like Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore and Au Sable National River in Michigan.
“Michigan’s parks received some Valentine’s Day love,” said Virginia Shannon, state associate, Environment Michigan. “I am glad to see support for such an important program for our parks. I call on Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin to cosponsor this bill to protect our parks, forest, waterways and special places in Michigan.”
The Land and Water Conservation Fund was first proposed by President John F. Kennedy on Feb. 14, 1963. This program sets aside a small portion of revenues the federal government receives from offshore oil drilling royalties and makes these funds available to protect and expand parks, wildlife refuges, forests and recreation areas. This conservation program has only been fully funded once during its tenure. This bill would provide consistent and reliable authority from Congress to fund the program.
“Michigan’s parks, from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to Manistee National Forest, are where some of our most unforgettable memories are formed – our first childhood hikes, our first time sleeping under the stars, our first encounters with wildlife,” said Shannon. “The Land and Water Conservation Fund is one of the best programs to protect our parks from the increased threat of overdevelopment and pollution from mining, drilling and development.”