What’s the Land and Water Conservation Fund?

The Land and Water Conservation Fund, or LWCF, is a longstanding federal program that directs fees from oil and gas drilling to investments in parks and open space. It costs taxpayers nothing—but benefits everyone. However you get outside, chances are LWCF has contributed to a place you know and love:

  • 8 million acres protected in all 50 states
  • $20 billion invested in communities since 1964
  • 98 percent of U.S. counties have a park or open space funded by LWCF

Why Does It Matter?

Parks and open space are the foundation for healthy, equitable, resilient communities. But today, 1 in 3 people in America don’t have a park close to home, and the wild places we go to explore and recharge—the public lands that support rural economics across the country—are under threat from development, wildfire, climate change, and more.

Trust for Public Land helps communities secure and leverage resources through the Land and Water Conservation Fund to invest in the places that matter, from upgraded baseball fields to new neighborhood parks to healthier national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges.

What’s Happening Now?

Today, thanks to over thirty years of tireless advocacy from a diverse coalition of park fans across the country, we’re celebrating an incredible legislative victory: permanent, full, and dedicated funding for LWCF.

The Senate introduced the Great American Outdoors Act in early March with two main goals: to fix the longstanding $12 billion maintenance backlog in our national parks, forests, and other public lands; and to guarantee full and dedicated funding—$900 million every single year—for LWCF.

The bill passed the Senate with 73 votes in June, and the House of Representatives passed it in July by a margin of 310 votes to 107. On August 4, the bill was signed into law.

Read more about this monumental victory and support our work today.