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Land & Water Conservation Fund

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Some pretty interesting information about the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) which has helped states build community parks and the federal government could buy private properties to patch up a tattered public landscape. Now this program is on life support!

A few things from the article:

“But after no LWCF money came through, much of the ranch was subdivided, developed and sold off.”

“When we have a willing seller and we don’t have the funds to purchase the property, that really is unfortunate,”

“In 2008 a Montana cattle rancher just northwest of Yellowstone National Park offered to sell to the Forest Service several hundred acres along the Yellowstone River that were crucial habitat for migrating bison. The Yellowstone animals are descendants of the few wild bison in America to escape the mass slaughter of tens of millions of them at the end of the 1800s, which starved Plains Indian tribes onto reservations. For decades, thousands of Yellowstone bison were shipped to slaughterhouses while environmentalists and the cattle industry clashed over where outside the park they could be tolerated. Parties on both sides agreed this piece of land could help ease the conflict.

But when money from the LWCF never came, the rancher sold to a billionaire businessman instead, and the bison slaughter went on, at a cost of about $ 2 million a year to the National Park Service per an agreement forged with state and cattle industry representatives as a way to control their population.”

“in Montana and Nevada, where some of each state’s biggest herds of elk and mule deer, respectively, are kept largely off-limits to hunters because they live on mountain ranges encircled by private ranches that no public trails or roads cross”

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