On February 26th, the United States House passed a comprehensive public lands bill that included permanent authorization for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The bill also included an official designation of the Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area in West Virginia. The Senate had passed the same bill on February 12th.
All of West Virginia’s congressional delegation supported the bill, which had broad, bipartisan support. Thank you to West Virginia’s Senators and Representatives for supporting public lands! In the Senate, it passed 92 to 8, while in the House it passed 363 to 62. The bill now only needs the president’s signature to become law.
Friends of Blackwater has been keeping a close eye on LWCF reauthorization, including updates on it in some of our emails, and posting about it on social media nearly a dozen times last year. We also work as part of the West Virginians for Public Lands coalition, and successfully got the town of Davis to send a letter in support of LWCF to the West Virginia congressional delegation. Thank you to all our members who were engaged on this issue and help support our work!
This is a massive bill with many different provisions, most of which are beneficial, and permanent authorization of LWCF is a big part of those benefits. West Virginia has received $241 million from LWCF so far, for over 500 projects in 54 of our 55 counties. The connector trail from the town of Davis to Blackwater Falls State Park was purchased with LWCF funds, and a large part of the funding for the Davis boulder park came from LWCF.