FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 22, 2018
Contact: Alexandra Merlino (917) 721-3127 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Ben Lewinger (505) 850-9010 | email@example.com
Business Groups Launch Website to Highlight Local Benefits of Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), Which is Set to Expire September 30 Unless Congress Acts
SaveLWCFNewMexico.com Features Several Stops Along the
“LWCF Road Trip,” Demonstrating the Depth of the Fund’s
Positive Impact Across New Mexico
NEW MEXICO, STATEWIDE – The Partnership for Responsible Business, the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce, and the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce launched a new website today that highlights the scope and diversity of benefits that the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has had on communities across New Mexico, in both urban and rural areas, and in local, state, and national parks.
LWCF is our nation’s most important program to conserve irreplaceable lands and improve outdoor recreation opportunities in every state, including New Mexico. LWCF is funded from offshore oil and gas drilling royalties, meaning that none of it comes from taxpayers.
However, instead of providing LWCF with its authorized level of $900 million annually, nearly every year Congress diverts much of this funding to purposes other than conserving our most important lands and waters. In addition, LWCF will expire on September 30 unless Congress acts to reauthorize the program before then.
By sharing the stories from members of 15 communities that benefit from LWCF funded sites, SaveLWCFNewMexico.com brings a human face to LWCF, highlights how deeply and positively the program impacts our daily lives, and reinforces the need for Congress to permanently reauthorize and fully fund LWCF.
“LWCF is known for helping acquire private land in-holdings from willing sellers within national parks and other public lands,” said Alexandra Merlino, executive director of the Partnership for Responsible Business. “But it is so much more than that – it’s local to nearly everyone. So we collected the stories on this website to show how LWCF touches ball fields and river parks, and impacts the daily lives of New Mexicans across the state.”
The SaveLWCFNewMexico.com stories mirror the diversity of the over 1,200 LWCF projects in New Mexico. The stories include sites from around the state including Pioneer Women’s Park in Las Cruces, Red Rock Park in Gallup, Ned Houk Park in Clovis, and Valles Caldera National Preserve just west of Los Alamos, to name a few.
“I was blown away by the diversity of stories, the deep community connection to the sites and the diverse themes that came up around the projects. It was all there: economic development, hunting and fishing, culture and heritage, and kids and families connecting with health and the outdoors,” said Carrie Hamblen, executive director of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce. “The common thread is the pride and ownership of these sites.”
Millions of New Mexican residents and visitors each year enjoy the sites protected and enhanced by LWCF. Another consistent theme throughout these stories is how beautifying parks and playgrounds, and honoring the state’s outdoor heritage, drives New Mexico’s outdoor recreation economy.
“New Mexico has a $9.9 billion outdoor recreation industry that supports nearly 90,000 jobs,” said Jeremy Romero, Wildlife Corridors Coordinator for the National and New Mexico Wildlife Federations. “So if you think about what LWCF does and what places like the Valles Caldera do to promote your local economy and preserve your right to explore these open places, you have to advocate for LWCF’s reauthorization and full funding. Without LWCF, we risk losing these places.”