The federal government’s land acquisition fund is in need of reform.
Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is traveling the country this month to promote the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the government’s primary source of funding for federal land acquisitions. The fund, which marks its 50th anniversary next month, devotes up to $900 million each year from offshore oil and gas revenues to acquire lands for conservation and recreation purposes.
While many are praising the fund’s achievements, consider another upcoming anniversary: the National Park Service’s centennial in 2016. The National Park Service — responsible for managing “crown jewels” such as Yellowstone and Yosemite — is on track to celebrate its 100th year facing an $11.5 billion backlog in deferred maintenance projects. These include deteriorating facilities, leaky wastewater systems, and deficient roads, bridges and trails.
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