Funding for Outdoor Recreation in Colorado at Risk

See the full article from CBS 4 Denver featuring Trout Unlimited's Scott Willoughby.

Outdoor recreation is widely recognized as being one of the largest industries in Colorado, providing over 200,000 jobs, $9.7 billion in wages and salaries, and $28 billion in consumer spending. In fact, 71% of the state's residents participate in outdoor recreation alone. (Stats from the Outdoor Industry Association)

Most outdoor recreation occurs on the state's public lands and parks which are funded through various avenues. One of those funding sources comes from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which has set aside and protected special places in Colorado and nationwide for more than 50 years. This fund is not fueled by tax dollars but rather the royalties from offshore oil and gas developments. Unfortunately, the continuation of this fund is set to expire September 30, 2018 unless Congress steps up.

So far, Senators Bennet and Gardner have both been leaders in supporting LWCF – but we need Colorado’s House delegation to also step up so that this successful program isn't lost to Congressional gridlock.

I am proud to support the permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The funding will help states protect their natural treasures and wildlife for generations to come. This bill not only has an important environmental impact, but it is also important to Colorado’s economy in promoting outdoor recreation.
— Representative Mike Coffman
CTU and Colorado Wildlife Federation leaders meeting with Representative Mike Coffman.

CTU and Colorado Wildlife Federation leaders meeting with Representative Mike Coffman.

On August 20, 2018 the Colorado Wildlife Federation and Colorado Trout Unlimited thanked Representative Mike Coffman for supporting the reauthorization of the LWCF at the trailhead of the West Toll Gate Creek Trail in Aurora, a key segment in its trail system that has received substantial support from a federal grant from the LWCF. 

"From trails and parks along the Front Range, to expanding angling and hunting access on the west slope, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has invested millions of dollars into Colorado's great outdoors," said Colorado Trout Unlimited Executive Director David Nickum. "We thank Representative Mike Coffman for supporting reauthorization of LWCF, and urge the rest of our Congressional delegation to join him to ensure that this successful program doesn't expire after September." 

You can read the full press release from the Colorado Wildlife Federation here. 

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Colorado Senators support public lands in bipartisan letter to US Senate


The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) supports public land access and recreation across the US, including Colorado. Over the past 50 years, Colorado has received $239 million dollars that go to a variety of projects such as: 

  • developing community parks and trails
  • preserving cultural heritage sites
  • conserving family ranches and working timberlands through conservation easements and the forest legacy program
  • preserving iconic landscapes
  • and securing boating and angling access along rivers

Currently, the funding for this program is set to expire on September 30, 2018. Right now a bi-partisan group of US Senators is working to permanently reauthorize the LWCF and secure its funding. This week, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Richard Burr (R-NC) collected signatures from their colleagues who also support investing in our public lands. We want to give a special thanks to Colorado's very own, Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) who have signed on to show their  support. Colorado is one of the highest states to support this program (77%) because so much of our economy depends on outdoor recreation and public land access. If you are interested in learning more, check out the links below:

Letter of Support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund

Press Release from the Office of Senator Cantwell

See how Colorado has benefitted from the LWCF success stories, in the report here: Colorado's Great Outdoors - The Land and Water Conservation Fund in Colorado