Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced $37.4 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) in state grants to establish and renovate parks and open spaces throughout the 50 States, the Territories and the District of Columbia for Fiscal Year 2011. LWCF state grant funds are awarded through Federal matching grants that leverage public and private investment in America's state and local public outdoor recreation.
"Outdoor recreation and conservation are engines for our nation's economy, creating jobs and infusing hundreds of millions of dollars into local communities and businesses through activities like hunting and fishing and tourism," Secretary Salazar said. "LWCF state grants leverage public-private partnerships to support locally-driven conservation efforts, which is at the heart of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative."
The funds will enable State and local governments to establish urban parks and community green spaces; to restore and provide public access to rivers, lakes and other water resources; and to conserve natural landscapes for public outdoor recreation use and enjoyment.
The National Park Service administers the Land and Water Conservation Fund state grant program. NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said, "The Land and Water Conservation Fund State and Local Assistance Program is the only federal funding source solely dedicated to establishing and providing perpetual protection for a nationwide legacy of local public parks, conservation and recreation areas."
The LWCF was established by Congress in 1964 to ensure access to outdoor recreation resources for present and future generations, and to provide money to federal, state and local governments to purchase land, water and wetlands for the benefit of all Americans. The primary source of revenue for the Land and Water Conservation Fund is from Federal oil and gas leases on the Outer Continental Shelf.
In addition to state grants, the LWCF funds other programs that support a strong national outdoor recreation and conservation economy, including programs that: strengthen conservation and recreation in national parks, forests and refuges; fund cooperative forest conservation in partnership with states and private landowners; and enable voluntary conservation activities on working farms, ranches and forests to protect wildlife, watersheds, and rural livelihoods.
Since the inception of the Fund, over $3.8 billion have been made available to State and local governments and approximately 41,000 projects have been funded throughout the nation. For more information, please visit www.nps.gov/lwcf.
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