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Big Fin on the Land & Water Conservation Fund

Ben Lamb

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Aug 6, 2010
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14,000
Location
Cedar, MI
Well said Randy. Thanks for speaking up. There are less than 100 days for America's premier access and conservation program unless Congress acts.

http://mtstandard.com/news/local/co...cle_57c9b4ea-3af0-522a-9a09-50ea9820ef83.html

The clock is ticking. In less than 100 days we lose a program that has shaped outdoor access and recreation in Montana, yet Congress seems content to let public land access whither on the vine of political posturing.

I was almost a year old when Congress created the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). A new idea to invest a small royalty revenue from offshore oil and gas leases into land, water and recreation areas for the public. A creative conservation idea that’s not used a single dime of taxpayer money. An obvious need fifty years ago is even more critical today. As America grows its economy and develops its natural resources, rank-and-file Americans are losing traditional access to the great outdoors.

A half century track record shows how the Land and Water Conservation fund has become more effective than anyone could have ever imagined. LWCF provides options for solving difficult access issues by purchasing inholdings, fishing access sites, land consolidations, easements, and all tools needed in today’s complex world.

When I talk with hunters across the west, the No. 1 concern they see for the future of hunting is access; with LWCF being the biggest access tool hunters have. That concern is supported by studies from the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Over 70% of hunters in Rocky Mountain States list public lands as their primary access for hunting. Pretty easy to connect the dots that the future of hunting is connected to the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Yet, Congress lacks the ability to connect those dots; or maybe it’s a lack of priority.

It’s unacceptable that Congress occupies itself with petty issues, while deferring reauthorization of a known workhorse; the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Any Congressional delegate wanting to demonstrate their support for hunting, fishing, and recreation access has been served up a home run pitch with LWCF.

LWCF has done so much so much in Montana, it is hard to imagine a world without it. In my back yard of Bozeman, the Gallatin National Forest has had over 200,000 acres of accessible public lands acquired and improved by LWCF. All who hunt and fish across our state can probably find a similar LWCF story in their back yard.

Anyone thinking access is tough today, think of what it would be like if LWCF hadn’t allowed us to acquire and conserve millions of acres. Without this program, fishing access sites all along our famous trout streams, and thousands of acres of hunting ground, would be guarded with “No Trespassing” signs.

LWCF makes good business sense. It’s not coming from tax revenue, rather resource royalties. It’s a fiscally conservative method to protect our heritage and boost our multi-billion dollar outdoor economy dependent upon public land. Being a CPA, we call that an investment, not an expense.

With all the good that comes from this program and clear support from groups as diverse as timber companies to conservation organizations to conservative sportsmen groups, you’d think it this would be a slam dunk for Congress. Well, you’d be wrong.

The clock keeps ticking down and we see Congress doing the partisan polka; one step forward and two steps back, while they dance to the music of DC powers. I’ve gone back to DC several times to promote the value of LWCF and counter misinformed ideas that drastically reform LWCF, or worse yet, defund the program and turn it into something it was never intended to be.

We can’t let “DC dysfunction” ruin a good thing for Montana. Fortunately, Montana’s lawmakers represent the best chance to rise above the morass and renew the Land and Water Conservation Fund before the clock expires in September. But they need your encouragement.

If you’re reading this, call Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines and Congressman Ryan Zinke today. Send them a clear message – Renew the Land and Water Conservation Fund, NOW! Playing political poker might work in DC, but Montana’s conservation legacy did not come about by gambling with our recreation businesses and the public access that makes Montana all that it is.
 

Ben Long

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Aug 8, 2011
Messages
1,168
Location
Kalispell, MT
I think it is safe to say that LWCF has touched the live of every hunter and angler in the American West. Probably nationwide.Yet few of us know it even exists. Renewing LWCF should be a top priority for all folks interested in making sure their kids and grandkids have a place to hunt and fish. Thanks Big Fin.
 

smarandr

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Joined
Jul 8, 2010
Messages
1,171
Location
East Idaho
Here is what the honorable Senator Risch from Idaho has to say about renewing the LWCF in a constituency letter to me earlier this year:

The use of LWCF is only appropriate in certain places. I support federal land acquisition to protect areas of ecological importance only if the local stakeholders, including locally elected officials, approve the acquisition.

In the current economic climate, the federal government should be the first to tighten the belt. As families in Idaho and all across the country are spending less and saving more, Congress should be doing the same.

Unfortunately, that is not the case. The current Congress appropriated $479 million for the LWCF, which is more than $279 million above the fiscal year 2009 enacted levels. In addition, the Obama Administration has requested $449 million more for the fiscal year 2012, which would total more than $900 million - nearly $1 billion - for the fund. This is the opposite direction of where we need to be heading.

Obviously he needs some convincing.
 

Oak

Expert
Joined
Dec 23, 2000
Messages
13,567
Location
Colorado
Here is what the honorable Senator Risch from Idaho has to say about renewing the LWCF in a constituency letter to me earlier this year:



Obviously he needs some convincing.

The more pressing issue is reauthorization, or the funded level will be zero. After reauthorization, we can talk about the funding level.
 

Big Fin

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Dec 27, 2000
Messages
15,122
Location
Bozeman, MT
Here is what the honorable Senator Risch from Idaho has to say about renewing the LWCF in a constituency letter to me earlier this year:

The use of LWCF is only appropriate in certain places. I support federal land acquisition to protect areas of ecological importance only if the local stakeholders, including locally elected officials, approve the acquisition.

In the current economic climate, the federal government should be the first to tighten the belt. As families in Idaho and all across the country are spending less and saving more, Congress should be doing the same.

Unfortunately, that is not the case. The current Congress appropriated $479 million for the LWCF, which is more than $279 million above the fiscal year 2009 enacted levels. In addition, the Obama Administration has requested $449 million more for the fiscal year 2012, which would total more than $900 million - nearly $1 billion - for the fund. This is the opposite direction of where we need to be heading.

Obviously he needs some convincing.

Notice how he forgets that Congress collects $900+million per year under this program, but they divert 70-80% of it for their pet projects. Rather than talk about that, he wants to complain about the 20-30% that ends up getting used for the intended purpose.

Anyone who doubts this is another attempt to rid the public of more access to their lands would be well served to do a bit more investigation.
 

hank4elk

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Jan 8, 2015
Messages
4,503
Location
SW NM
Randy it is amazing that they think we are this stupid not to see were the funds go.
They don't cut 900mil out of budget,just steal it ,then blame BIG GUBBERMENT.....?

I am with you 100% and am thankful you give them an earful now and then.
My Senators and Congressmen hear from me weekly and one of them is big outdoors/hunting supporter/co-sponsor ,M. Heinrich. D

Thank you again,Hank.
 

Big Fin

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Bozeman, MT
Randy it is amazing that they think we are this stupid not to see were the funds go.
They don't cut 900mil out of budget,just steal it ,then blame BIG GUBBERMENT.....?

I am with you 100% and am thankful you give them an earful now and then.
My Senators and Congressmen hear from me weekly and one of them is big outdoors/hunting supporter/co-sponsor ,M. Heinrich. D

Thank you again,Hank.


Hank, Heirnrich has been a huge supporter of LWCF and other access programs. He is trying to be in NM when I am there in August and give some of his thoughts on access either via a podcast or as a short clip in an episode. Not sure if it will work with schedules, or not. I give this offer to all politicians on both sides. Few take advantage of it.

His staff orders every season of our DVDs. When I go to DC, he always makes time for me to visit with him. He can tell you chapter and verse of every one of our New Mexico episodes he has watched. One of the few DC offices that is adorned with elk antlers, bear hides, blood-dried arrows, lion skulls, and things that instantly inform you that whoever runs that office is serious about hunting.
 

hank4elk

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Jan 8, 2015
Messages
4,503
Location
SW NM
Randy,
that's great you get to sit with him and discuss the issues and offer the time for the clip.
I have had the chance a couple times when he has been here near me. He sat and talked with me about elk hunting like anyone else I know. We never did get to the point of what I wanted to discuss,but we e-mailed later.
He has proved to me to be 'The real deal" as they say. Walks the walk.
 

Schaaf

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Aug 14, 2014
Messages
2,982
Location
Fort Peck, MT
I see that Daines was one of the nay votes that ended up being one vote short to stop the fillibuster of Senator Burr's Amendment 92 to permanently reauthorize the LWCF.

He sure seems to be out of touch with the people of Montana that he represents.
 
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