Oct 102019

Pictured: Heart Lake in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest As Shot From The Trail (Yes, that is mount Shasta on the Right)

Recently, I went on a couple short trips to the Pacific Northwest. I used a bunch of trails in National Forests, Lassen National Park and Crater Lake National Park. In my neck of California, Lassen is about 2 1/2 hours away, Crater Lake about 5. These are easy to get to as none of the trail heads are more than 15 miles (of windy forest service roads) from Weed or Mt. Shasta. Without the LWCF, these trails would fall in to disrepair and the roads would become undriveable.

The Trails I hiked and the access roads I used to get to them are all paid in part by HR3195, (the Land and Water Conservation Fund). 60% of the money is used for maintenance and upkeep.

If you’ve been to Morongo, Mojave, Seal Beach or the hills between OC and LA (or Riverside), Angel’s Crest, Big Bear, etc… you’ve been on land that the LCWF funds maintain.

Recently, Rob Bishop wrote an Op-Ed. He is the ranking Republican Member of some House Committee that oversees this stuff. It was on the Daily Caller which is how it caught my eye.

Politicians love creating new parks. It’s a cheap way (using someone else’s money) to increase name recognition and bona fides ahead of an election.

Unfortunately, maintaining our parks doesn’t have the same appeal. Why would a politician fix a leaky roof or repave a road when he or she could create a new park? I’ve never seen a federal candidate run for office on the campaign theme, “Vote for me, I fixed the park sewer system!”

Good stewardship isn’t flashy, but it’s essential if we are truly committed to our public lands. With the recent expiration of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), we now have an opportunity to restore stewardship to our land management policies.

Bishop goes on to write about a couple other bills aimed at making sure that the lion’s share of the money is spent on maintenance projects.

The reason why I am part of the 82% that support this bill is that the money is taken from long since existing fees on Offshore Drilling. This is not a tax increase. The LWCF was permanently reauthorized in the budget deal of March 2019. What is at issue is making sure the funds are allocated to maintenance rather than buying new stuff.
Mount Shasta as Shot From the Pacific Crest Trail in the Shasta Trinity National Forest

In stark contrast to Government Policy that removes roads and closes off trails in some misguided effort to run people off the land, the LWCF increases access and makes sure the areas stay open.

Wherever there is adequate and well maintained infrastructure, there is commerce and tourism. Getting outdoors is also healthy.

The LWCF protects the rights of those with historic leases or ownership of parts of land within the boundaries of existing parks / forests, etc.

Having recently visited Lassen National Park and Crater Lake National Park, it was refreshing to see recent maintenance and upgrade projects get completed. The last time I was at Redwood National Park, several trails were closed. They appear to be all re-opened. I am also aware of repairs and re-openings on public lands in Eastern Placer and El Dorado Counties. The LWCF makes sure that more of this sort of stuff happens.

With the LWCF, anything federal will be maintained no matter the fiscal issues of the California State Government. (Remember the State Park System Scandal with hidden money?)

This is a good bill and we should all support it.

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  One Response to “Let’s Take a Break From Campaigns and Talk About HR 3195 an Issue Near My Heart (the Land and Water Conservation Fund)”

  1. I am so proud to have grown up with parents that took me camping in many counties. I took my family to many parks in this State. I love the open space of CA. Great article.

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