SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department is praising President Obama’s call for a fully-funded Land and Water Conservation Fund at the $900 million annual level in his 2017 budget, released today.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is an important source of funding for local governments to create and protect green spaces in urban and metropolitan areas. Created in 1964 with strong bipartisan support, LWCF has supported more than 42,000 projects in almost every county in the country. The fund is paid for by offshore oil and gas royalties, not taxpayer dollars, making it one of our most effective federal programs.
In fact, the LWCF State Assistance program has invested almost $300 million in California since 1965 and has funded projects in San Francisco including more than $1.6 million for McLaren Park since 1967 and more recently $102,000 for the Visitacion Greenway Development Improvements and $115,000 for Buena Vista Park, $187,000 for the McLaren Park Connector Trail, $250,000 for the McLaren Bike Park, and $740,000 toward Noe Valley Town Square to name a few.
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund is an important resource that invests in the sustainable future of America’s cities,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, a member of the Mayors for Parks coalition. “I applaud President Obama for requesting a fully-funded Land and Water Conservation Fund and urging Congress to make green spaces a priority for families and youth.”
In June, Mayor Ed Lee joined 22 fellow mayors from across the country in supporting a resolution calling for the reauthorization and full funding of the LWCF. The resolution passed unanimously at the U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting in San Francisco. Despite these calls, in September, Congress allowed LWCF to expire for the first time since its inception. Several months later, they passed a temporary three-year reauthorization at $450 million each year, half of the proposed annual amount.
“We are constantly improving our parks and making them more accessible to our neighbors,” said SF Rec & Park General Manager, Phil Ginsburg. “LWCF is an important tool that allows us to do our work, and I applaud President Obama for making outdoor recreation and open space a priority.”
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund has been one of our nation’s most successful conservation programs, strengthening local economies. We thank President Obama for his support of the competitive grants program that benefits urban areas in need,” said City Parks Alliance’s Executive Director Catherine Nagel.
In addition to San Francisco parks, LWCF has been an important resource for protecting nearby federal lands such as the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and the Point Reyes National Seashore.