RMEF Plays Intimate Role In Landmark Conservation Legislation
A recent Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation conservation project played a prominent role in President Trump calling for full, dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The Senate just introduced a bill that creates permanent, full funding for LWCF.
“It cannot be overstated how important this program is for the future of conservation,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “It is vital for elk, other wildlife, public access and for safeguarding America’s hunting, fishing and other outdoor-related recreational traditions.”
Sen. Steve Daines (R-Montana) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) first secured a meeting with President Trump and several of his staffers. Daines then reached out to RMEF to acquire high-quality maps, photos and other detailed information about its Falls Creek project, which permanently protected 442 acres of wildlife and riparian habitat along Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front and also greatly improved access to more than 26,000 acres of public acres beyond.
During their meeting, Daines shared project details with the president including the fact that $250,000 in LWCF funds helped close the deal. President Trump stated that information “sealed the deal” for him.
“We sincerely thank all involved for moving this legislation forward, with specific recognition to Senators Daines and Gardner for their concerted efforts in working with and securing the support of President Trump. For the sake of our wildlife and our wild landscapes, we call on the Senate and the House of Representatives to approve this milestone measure so it can be signed into law,” added Weaver.
The bill also addresses a backlog of maintenance issues at national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and other federal lands that will enhance the experiences of sportsmen and women who use these areas to hunt, fish, camp, view wildlife and enjoy other forms of outdoor recreation.
First created in 1964, LWCF makes funding available to lawmakers to appropriate up to $900 million annually from federal offshore drilling fees for the protection of important land, water and recreational areas for all Americans to enjoy.
For RMEF alone, LWCF so far provided more than $115 million to help permanently protect more than 162,000 acres of America’s most crucial elk habitat and open public access to more than double that in 12 states.