Tag Archive for: LWCF

The Trust goes to Washington DC!

March 8, 2024-

Members of our staff spent this week in Washington DC speaking with congressional and agency representatives about the importance of protecting wilderness.

Given that the Trust isn’t an advocacy organization, this isn’t a part of our day-to-day work. But the happenings in DC certainly affect our work, so once a year we take the opportunity to meet with decision-makers to discuss the role that protecting private lands in and around wilderness plays in the larger conservation effort.

One of the highlights of the trip was meeting with staffers of Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper, both of Colorado, to discuss our work to protect the 650-acre Snowmass Falls Ranch property in partnership with Pitkin County, CO. For this kind of large-scale project, valued at $34 million, building a broad base of support for the project is critical for the eventual successful transfer to public ownership. We enjoyed the opportunity to share about this incredible landscape with both Senate offices representing it.

Another topic of our meetings was the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). This year marks the 60th anniversary of the acts establishing both our national wilderness system, as well as this closely tied funding source. Funded by revenue from offshore oil and gas leases, LWCF supports everything from large conservation projects to new playgrounds and tennis courts in local parks across the country. Within the fund is an account specifically earmarked to acquire private wilderness inholdings, so we enjoyed meeting with members of the appropriation committees to share stories of the places these dollars help protect, and ask that the Critical Inholdings Account be fully funded. The trip was also an opportunity to catch up with some of our close partners, like the USFS National Land Acquisition Program Manager, who play a critical role in the success of our work every day.


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Heart Lake in the Castle Crags Wilderness

Great American Outdoors Act Update

July 24, 2020 – Earlier this month, the Senate passed the Great American Outdoors Act and we are thrilled to report this week it has also passed the House. Thanks to Congress for their leadership on protecting public lands and wilderness! This brings the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) one step closer to full, permanent funding. President Trump is expected to sign it soon.

Heart Lake in the Castle Crags Wilderness

LWCF funds will allow permanent protection of the Little Castle Lake property, including pristine water, forest land and trail access to Heart Lake in Castle Crags Wilderness. Above, Aimee Rutledge, vice president and senior lands specialist, takes a swim in Heart Lake on a pre-Covid community support hike that attracted more than 40 people.

The Wilderness Land Trust depends on LWCF – the primary federal funding source for wilderness acquisitions — to purchase and protect private land within designated wilderness areas. Right now we have 33 active projects in nine states stretching from Alaska to Arizona. Each of these private parcels in wilderness threatens the surrounding wild lands with the potential for mining, logging or residential development.

LWCF funding lets us remove these threats and permanently protect vital plant and animal habitat and critical water sources so these lands can remain wild for future generations to enjoy.

Check out our recent work and as always, thank you for your continued support.