Magazine article Parks & Recreation

The Land and Water Conservation Fund: A Vital Resource for Parks

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

The Land and Water Conservation Fund: A Vital Resource for Parks

Article excerpt

LOUISA COUNTY, VIRGINIA, was in the news in August, when a 5.8 earthquake centered in that county's town of Mineral shook the East Coast from top to bottom. In a longer-lasting but far less publicized development, the county seat of now-famous Louisa is the recipient of a grant from the National Park Service's Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) State Assistance and will soon have its very first public park, with basketball courts, playgrounds, picnic grounds, trails for walking and bicycling, and lovely green open space.

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The federally funded LWCF State and Local Assistance program has made more than 40,000 such grants to states and localities to acquire, develop, and plan outdoor recreation spaces. Those grants, given as matching funds, have accounted for 3 million acres of recreation lands and facilities across every state and territory of the nation. Seventy-five percent have gone to locally sponsored projects like the one in Louisa. In addition to these thousands of smaller projects, LWCF grants have also created new parks of statewide or national significance.

In Illinois, with help from the LWCF State Assistance, Prophetstown State Park added 114 acres to its natural bluffs and lowlands along the Wabash River. This treasured park encompasses 10,000 years of documented Native American history, and it makes hiking, camping, fishing, and the experience of unspoiled nature and national heritage accessible to everyone.

Conservation of a 34-mile reach of the beautiful St. Croix River in Maine was made possible by the fund, completing a decade-long effort by the State of Maine, the Province of New Brunswick, the St. Croix International Waterway Commission, and private land trusts to protect one of the most pristine stretches of boundary water in eastern North America. …

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