Rep. Huffman Announces Major Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant for Construction of Bodega Bay Trail

Funding comes from crucial – but threatened – federal program.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – September 21, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) today announced a $387,097 Land and Water Conservation Fund grant for Sonoma County Regional Parks to construct a section of the Coastal Prairie Trail in Bodega Bay, California, part of the proposed 1,200-mile California Coastal Trail from Mexico to Oregon. This .63 mile section of trail will connect State Parks, County parks, shops, restaurants, and overlooks along Bodega Bay’s Highway 1 corridor. This funding comes at no taxpayer expense, as the Land and Water Conservation Act is financed by a portion of offshore drilling fees.

Over its 50-year life, the Fund has permanently protected five million acres of public lands, including American icons like Grand Canyon National Park and the Appalachian Trail. In addition to local and state recreation sites like the Coastal Prairie Trail, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has provided funding to federal projects throughout Sonoma County and California’s North Coast, including Redwood National Park, Six Rivers National Forest, and Point Reyes National Seashore, and King Range National Conservation Area.

“Every single year millions of Americans have hiked the trails that this Fund helped build, visited the National Parks that this fund helped create, and enjoyed the wildland vistas that it helped protect,” Huffman said in a Wednesday speech on the Floor of the House of Representatives.

Unfortunately, authorization for the Land and Water Conservation Fund will lapse in two weeks, ending the Land and Water Conservation Fund’s 50-year life and preventing future investments in local park improvements like the Coastal Prairie Trail.

Huffman continued, “In just two weeks, authorization for the Fund will expire, leaving local economies in jeopardy and our parklands struggling to make up for lost funding. I hope Congress can come together now to support H.R. 1814, a bipartisan bill sponsored by my friend Mr. Grijalva that permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund.”

“Mr. Speaker,

“For more than 50 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has protected America’s natural heritage.

“This Fund is one of our most important conservation tools: every single year millions of Americans have hiked the trails that this Fund helped build, visited the National Parks that this fund helped create, and enjoyed the wildland vistas that it helped protect.

“The Fund has supported more than 40,000 projects in nearly every county in each state in our nation. In my district on California’s North Coast, it has funded projects in Redwood National Park, in Six Rivers National Forest, and in the Point Reyes National Seashore.

“Since 2004, it has helped add more than 1,000 acres to the King Range National Conservation Area, one of the most rugged and spectacular backpacking areas you’ll find anywhere in the continental U.S.— it’s also known as California’s Lost Coast.

“The positive impact that this fund has had is simply staggering: the Land and Water Conservation Fund has permanently protected five million acres of public lands, and that includes sections of American icons like the Grand Canyon National Park and the Appalachian Trail.

“And best of all, it does so at no taxpayer expense. The Land and Water Conservation Fund is financed by a portion of offshore drilling fees.

“Congress needs to remember that preserving our natural heritage isn’t just good for our environment: it’s good for our economy. Outdoor recreation is a cornerstone of local and state economies, bringing tourists from around the world to shop at local businesses, eat at restaurants, and stay at hotels. In California alone, outdoor recreation supports $85.4 billion in consumer spending and 732,000 jobs across the state.

“But in just two weeks, authorization for the Fund will expire, leaving local economies in jeopardy and our parklands struggling to make up for lost funding.

“50 years ago, Congress created the Land and Water Conservation Fund in an overwhelming bipartisan vote.

“I hope Congress can come together now to support H.R. 1814, a bipartisan bill sponsored by my friend Mr. Grijalva that permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

“America’s natural heritage and our economy depend on it. I yield back.”

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