Advocates of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is set to expire in a month, admit it’s a federal program most people have never even heard of. But its expiration could have significant effects on conservation in Indiana.
Congress created the Land and Water Conservation Fund in 1965, with money directed to both federal parks and state conservation efforts. In its 50 year history, Indiana has received $75 million from the fund. Indiana Parks Alliance Secretary Gerald Pagac says that money has helped acquire more than 30 thousand acres of land for public recreation and conservation in the Hoosier State.
“It actually spurred the creation of many park departments, especially county park departments around the state,” Pagac said. “We wouldn’t even have them, probably, if we didn’t have the Land and Water Conservation Fund.”
Pagac notes the fund doesn’t even use taxpayer dollars.
“The source of funding for it was just a small portion of the offshore oil receipts that the federal government gets,” he said.
A bipartisan bill in Congress would reauthorize the program before it expires at the end of the September. But that legislation hasn’t yet cleared the Senate or the House.