Federal Funding for Conservation and Recreation: The Land and Water Conservation Fund



Jan. 14, 2009


Issue Brief

Reading time

1 minute


The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has been the principal funding source for federal land acquisitions for conservation and recreation purposes since 1965. The Bureau of Land Management, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and the Forest Service all receive funds from the LWCF. The LWCF also serves as a major source of state and local funding for land acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation resources through a state matching grant program. However, funding for the state side of the program is far less today than in the early years of the program and has tended to fluctuate greatly from year to year. In this backgrounder, we provide some history of the LWCF, describe how the program works, show trends in funding over time, and assess the current status of the program and challenges for the future.


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