02-12-19 US Senator Gardner Successfully Includes LWCF Permanent Reauthorization in Senate-Passed Legislation

US Senator Gardner Successfully Includes LWCF Permanent Reauthorization in Senate-Passed Legislation

Washington, D.C. – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) today released the below statement after the Senate approved a public lands package, including permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), as well as numerous other Gardner-authored bills that have a direct impact on Colorado.

Since his election to the Senate, Gardner has been an LWCF champion. Gardner spoke at an LWCF press conference touting the importance of making the LWCF program permanent by promoting its 100-day campaign in June, and led another press conference reiterating the need for this program in November. In July 2018, Gardner spoke on the Senate floor to address the necessity of this program being fully funded in order to conserve and preserve public lands, and joined his colleagues in a bipartisan effort to permanently reauthorize LWCF by introducing an amendment to the appropriations bill. In December of 2018, after years of work, Gardner played a key role in securing the first up-or-down vote on permanent reauthorization in the program’s history.

“After four years of working on this issue, the Senate was finally able to permanently reauthorize the crown jewel of conservation programs, the Land and Water Conservation Fund,” said Senator Gardner. “I have championed this program throughout my time in the Senate because of how important it is to all Coloradans who love our great outdoors. The program has a direct impact on public lands in Colorado and will be used to protect our state’s natural beauty for future generations. I’m thrilled we were able to finally permanently reauthorize this commonsense program supported by Coloradans across the political spectrum. This is a great day for the future of Colorado’s public lands.”

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund has been perhaps the single most critical tool for ensuring our outdoor-driven way of life here in Colorado for more than 50 years. Now, after many years of uncertainty about the program’s future, we no longer have that worry. Senator Gardner’s support and leadership means that we can plan better for future conservation work, and we can ensure the outdoor economy can continue to thrive here for the benefit of our communities and families. Permanently renewing LWCF is simply a tremendous accomplishment for our state and our nation, and we’re grateful for Senator Gardner’s leadership on behalf of our citizens and our lands and waters.” – Carlos Fernandez, The Nature Conservancy’s Colorado State Director 

“Senator Gardner’s steadfast support of this program has been instrumental in keeping the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee focused on the prize of permanent reauthorization. Boots on the ground visits to key sites in Colorado that have received funding from LWCF are the best way to connect with what is at stake in this battle and Senator Gardner spends a lot of time in Colorado’s iconic outdoor destinations.  All of our best champions are ardent advocates for their own treasured landscapes and that’s where Senator Gardner’s passion was born.” – Jay Leutze, Spokesman for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, President of Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy

“The Conservation Fund is thrilled to see permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund pass the Senate, as LWCF is a critical tool in Colorado and nationally for preserving land for outdoor recreation, conservation, and economic development. U.S. Senator Gardner joined us last year at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park to celebrate a LWCF success that added nearly 2,500 acres to the Park, increasing access for hikers and anglers and supporting local economic development. He and the Colorado congressional delegation have been fighting hard to keep LWCF available to protect our nation’s greatest places.”– Christine Quinlan, Colorado Field Representative for The Conservation Fund.

“Today, Coloradoans voicing their strong support for more access to parks, trails and open spaces were finally heard in Washington, D.C. The Senate passed legislation to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund. From neighborhood parks to national parks, LWCF brings real benefits to our urban and rural communities and economies, and is an issue that transcends the partisan divide. I want to thank Senator Cory Gardner for his leadership in pressing for permanent reauthorization of LWCF, and for working in a bipartisan fashion to win Senate approval. We look forward to working with him to get LWCF authorization over the finish line in the coming weeks.” – Jim Petterson, Colorado and Southwest Director for The Trust for Public Land.

“We thank Senator Cory Gardner for his work in the passage of this critical legislation. This package is a testament of the strength and unity of the sportsmen’s community, and we urge the House of Representatives to pass it as well.” – Timothy C. Brady, Boone and Crockett Club President

“S. 47 is the most significant public lands package to move through Congress in over a decade. Permanently reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund and dedicating resources to enhancing public access have long been top priorities for hunters and anglers, and Sen. Gardner has been a staunch champion from the very beginning. We applaud his leadership in helping advance a critical package of conservation measures that not only benefits sportsmen and women but also delivers greater certainty for our public lands, waters and wildlife. As a fellow Coloradan, I appreciate his commitment to doing things the Colorado way by setting politics aside in order to pass meaningful legislation guided by unity and bipartisanship for the benefit of our natural resources and outdoor heritage.” – John Gale, Conservation Director, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Pine, Colorado

“For more than 50 years the Land and Water Conservation Fund has invested in our public lands and outdoor recreation, securing access for anglers to world-class fisheries like the Gunnison Gorge and helping conserve special landscapes like the Baca Ranch in the San Luis Valley. We were alarmed that Congress allowed the program to lapse last year and deeply appreciate Senator Gardner’s hard work to get Senate passage for LWCF’s permanent reauthorization as part of this bipartisan package.” – David Nickum, Executive Director of Colorado Trout Unlimited

“For sportsmen or women, there are few programs as crucial for our outdoor traditions as the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The bipartisan support for the program is a testament to the importance of the program for all Americans. Not only will the Natural Resources Management Act permanently authorize LWCF, but numerous provisions will help to secure high-quality fish and wildlife habitat on public lands and maintain access for hunters and anglers throughout the country. We applaud the tireless and cooperative work to get this bill through the Senate and look forward to helping secure quick passage in the House of Representatives.” – Corey Fisher, Public Land Policy Director, Trout Unlimited

“Coloradans value their state’s waterways, wilderness, and outdoor heritage, and Colorado’s public lands sustain a growing outdoor recreation economy. This bipartisan package underscores the importance that you and your constituents place on protecting Colorado’s and America’s spectacular lands and waters. Thank you again for your leadership on this issue. We look forward to working with you to see the Natural Resources Management Act enacted into law, and on future measures to conserve Colorado’s public lands.”

– John Gilroy, Director of U.S. Public Lands Conservation for Pew Charitable Trusts, in letter to Senator Gardner

Several other Colorado-specific bills that Gardner authored were included in the final lands package:

Gardner continued: “After working on many of these bills that will help Colorado, I’m excited we were finally able to get them across the finish line. Colorado’s great outdoors are a national treasure and I’ll always fight to protect our public lands for Coloradans to enjoy.”

Gardner-authored bills included in the package:

Crags, Colorado Land Exchange Act

Bolts Ditch Access and Use Act

To update the map of, and modify the maximum acreage available for inclusion in, the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument

Endangered Fish Recovery Programs Extension Act

Amache Study Act

Other bills in package Gardner was an original cosponsor of:

Arapaho National Forest Boundary Adjustment Act of 2017

Fowler and Boskoff Peaks Designation Act

Pike National Historic Trail Study Act

Wildfire Management Technology Advancement Act of 2017

Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.