New poll shows 73 percent of Washingtonians want Land and Water Conservation Fund reauthorized, funded

New poll shows 73 percent of Washingtonians want Land and Water Conservation Fund reauthorized, funded

ConservationNWAdmin / Nov 29, 2018 / Legislation, Protecting Wildlands, Public Lands

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new poll conducted for the National Wildlife Federation shows 73 percent of Washington voters want to see the permanent reauthorization and full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

National Wildlife Federation President and CEO Collin O’Mara said the results show that Washingtonians want their leaders in Congress to ensure this critical program continues to support outdoor recreation for families, hunters and anglers, and wildlife-watchers with the community parks, trails, public lands and outdoor spaces critical to our shared heritage.

Senator Maria Cantwell speaks on behalf of LWCF at a rally in Seattle’s Green Lake Park on August 13, 2018. Photo: Laurel Baum

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund has connected Americans with wildlife and outdoor recreation for more than half a century,” said O’Mara. “The poll highlights not only that Americans of all backgrounds are united in their support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, but also the immense public support for Congress taking long-overdue action to permanently reauthorize and fully fund this critical program. Failing to act in the face of this overwhelming support would be a massive missed opportunity for our wildlife and outdoor heritage.”

Conservation Northwest, the Washington State Affiliate Organization of the National Wildlife Federation and a local conservation leader for nearly thirty years, said the poll’s findings underscore the importance of the Land and Water Conservation Fund for Washington’s public lands, wildlife and thriving outdoor economy.

“Many of Washington’s most cherished outdoor access sites were made possible or improved through the Land and Water Conservation Fund—from boat launches on the Skagit River and Puget Sound to access to razor clam beaches on the Pacific coast, wildlife watching and hunting areas in Eastern Washington, and city parks from Spokane to Seattle,” said Chase Gunnell, Conservation Northwest Communications Director.

“Permanently reauthorizing and fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund is an important down-payment on stewarding Washington’s outdoor-recreation economy and wildlife heritage for generations to come,” said Gunnell.

“Here in the Evergreen State, we like to say innovation is in our nature. But our nature is also a powerful economic engine that provides more than $26.2 billion in consumer spending and 200,000 jobs annually,” said Gunnell. “The Land and Water Conservation Fund has supported our Pacific Northwest outdoor heritage and the high quality of life it provides for Washingtonians. It’s time for leaders in Congress to show LWCF the same level of support by passing bipartisan legislation to reauthorize and fully-fund this vital conservation program.”

Key results from the new poll include:

  • 73 percent of Washington voters want the Land and Water Conservation Fund renewed and funded;
  • 49 percent of Washington voters would feel more favorably about Senator Maria Cantwell if she “voted to authorize renewal of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.”
  • 46 percent of Washington voters would feel less favorably about Senator Maria Cantwell if she “voted to renew the Land and Water Conservation Fund but not fund it.”

The telephone poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling on November 26-27, surveyed 501 Washington voters.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund, which expired in September, uses fees from offshore oil and gas revenues — at no cost to taxpayers — to invest in urban parks, walking and biking trails, wildlife habitat, historic sites, national parks and other open spaces. The National Wildlife Federation worked closely with Interior Secretary Stewart Udall, Senator Clinton Anderson and Representative Wayne Aspinall to help secure initial passage in 1964. It also worked with subsequent Congresses to increase the program’s funding and improve its programmatic impact in 1968, 1970, 1977 and 2015.

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“Keeping the Northwest wild” since 1989, Conservation Northwest is a regional non-profit organization that protects, connects and restores wildlands and wildlife from the Washington Coast to the British Columbia Rockies. Conservation Northwest is the Washington State Affiliate Organization of the National Wildlife Federation. 

The National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization, uniting all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly changing world.

Mount Baker towers over the San Juan Islands, where the Land and Water Conservation Fund has improved public access and protected important habitat for fish and wildlife. Photo: Chase Gunnell