WASHINGTON – After the Land and Water Conservation Fund expired due to the inability of Congress to reauthorize the program before its Sept. 30 deadline, the Latino Conservation Alliance—a group of six national Latino organizations dedicated to representing a diverse array of Latino communities to conserve our natural heritage for future generations—released the following statement:
“For 50 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has enhanced our country and our culture through projects that have improved our communities and created beautiful places where our citizens can thrive. It has protected our country's most precious natural resources and provided critical outdoor and educational opportunities to Latino communities throughout the nation.
“Unfortunately, despite its popularity and bipartisan support, Congress failed to reauthorize LWCF and now the future of many of our nation’s special and revered public lands, as well as thousands of urban parks and facilities that communities throughout America are dependent upon, are in jeopardy.
“Without costing taxpayers a single dime, LWCF has put more than $17 billion into the protection of land in every state, contributed support to more than 41,000 state and local park projects, and improved access to the outdoors for millions of people. While the LWCF has certainly been beneficial to all people, the program has deeper meaning for the Latino community. The fund isn’t simply about protecting land and water; it helps with conservation of historic places where Hispanic families have lived for generations. Our country’s colorful, multicultural history is reflected in our landscapes because of the LWCF.
“Instead of celebrating this week, we are concerned about the national parks, playgrounds, recreation centers, ball fields, and state park projects for future generations that hang in the balance. We have lost a historic program that played a key role in protecting not just land and water, but our country’s dynamic, multicultural past.”
Founded in December 2014, the Latino Conservation Alliance members include GreenLatinos, Hispanic Access Foundation, Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors (HECHO), Hispanic Federation, La Madre Tierra and Latino Outdoors.