"Keeping the public on public lands & waters"


Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter
For Email Marketing you can trust

Donate via PayPal

Land and Water Conservation Fund

Why important ?

What is the Land and Water Conservation Fund and why is it important to you?

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is the primary source of funding available to the Federal land management agencies to preserve, develop and assure access to outdoor recreational resources. This includes the purchase of in-holdings within existing Federal lands, the purchase of large private holdings that may be threatened by development pressures, as well as the purchase of easements and corridors which provide improved public access to existing federal lands.

In the West, these public lands are where most hunters hunt, and many other forms of recreation take place. They are not subject to the threats of exclusive leasing that threaten hunting and outdoor traditions. They will never be sold and posted "no tresspassing."

How does the Land and Water Conservation Fund get funding?

The LWCF is a “trust fund” that accumulates revenues primarily from oil and gas leases on the Outer Continental Shelf. Over the last decade, these revenues have averaged around $6.4 billion annually. The fund was created by Congress in 1965 as a way to at least partially offset the impacts of oil and gas exploration on our nation’s natural resources. The enabling legislation allowed for $900 million annually - less that 15% of the average revenues over the last decade - to be appropriated to the LWCF for acquisition habitats and recreation areas and to assist in the development of local parks and recreation facilities. The enabling legislation requires that Congress annually appropriate LWCF monies to specific projects. Unappropriated monies are returned to the Federal Treasury to fund unrelated funding needs.

What’s the problem?

Unfortunately, Congress has failed to annually appropriate the full $900 million contributed to the LWCF. In the last decade, Congress only appropriated an average of $313 million annually, or less than 5% of the available offshore revenues. Consequently, Federal land management agencies have not been able to take advantage of willing seller opportunities that would have protected important wildlife habitats from development and provided more places for hunters to hunt. The lack of available funding has precluded these agencies from actively searching for easement and fee acquisition opportunities that would improve hunter access to large tracts of existing Federal lands.

April 6, 2012

Here is the list of Montana land purchases for the national forest system with $41.6 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund announced Friday April 6,2012.


— Legacy Completion, Lolo and Flathead National Forests: Protects watersheds, wildlife habitat and public access to outdoor recreation in and around the Crown of the Continent. Part of the Montana Legacy project, which includes a 111,740-acre land donation. $2 million.

— Tenderfoot Part I, Lewis and Clark National Forest: Provides habitat for West Slope cutthroat trout, elk, moose, and deer in the Tenderfoot watershed of central Montana, as well as public access to hunting and fishing. $2 million

related articles

Ruby River Stream Access Victory
( 07/01/2016 )   7/1/2016PLWA, once again, has been victorious in the battle for the public's stream access on the Ruby River, from the Seyler Lane Bridge, likely the original stagecoach route from Salt Lake City, north to Virginia City and Helena.It has been over a decade that PLWA (formerly known as PLAAI) has been involved in a lawsuit over public access to the Ruby River from Seyler Lane and the Seyler Bridge, a public prescriptive easement right-of-way in Madison County.

"Dark Money" Brought to Light
( 07/01/2016 )   The June-July, Newscasts section of Fly Fisherman reported on the recent investigation by Montana's Commissioner of Political Practices, Jonathan Motl, into a dark money campaign that could overturn Montana's Stream Access.Fly Fisherman recounted the Montana Growth Network's campaign contributions to District Judge Laurie McKinnon's run for our Montana Supreme Court.

public land issues

Seyler Lane Update
9/24/2015Seyler Bridge Easement - More Than Just RecreationUpdate - Kennedys attorney requested a postponement of the September 21 hearing.

Tenderfoot - Four Years and Counting
9/24/2015Tenderfoot Creek is a tributary of the Smith River, joining the Smith a mile or so north of Camp Baker.

    18 more public land issues

Does It Get Any Better Than This ?

Public Land/Water Access Association Inc. or PLWA, is a citizen group organized and operated under the Montana nonprofit corporation act.

Articles and Information on this site represent the opinion of the writer and are not intended as legal advice. Legal counsel may be needed in dealing with specific access situations and issues.
      PLWA.ORG   -   Public Land & Water Association