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Interior Department sends $279 million in LWCF money to states for parks and outdoor recreation

 A view of Nevada’s Washoe Lake State Park, which has been supported by Land and Water Conservation Fund grants.
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A view of Nevada’s Washoe Lake State Park, which has been supported by Land and Water Conservation Fund grants.

News brief

The Interior Department announced the distribution of $279 million to outdoor recreation and conservation projects across the U.S., with tens of millions of dollars going to states in the Mountain West.

The money comes from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is bankrolled largely by proceeds from offshore oil and gas leases. States will use the funds for public outdoors projects, from conservation easements to skateparks.

Allocations to states in the Mountain West range from $2.3 million, Wyomings share, to the $5.7 million going to Arizona.

Chris Perkins of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, a coalition of trade associations, says expanding outdoor access is more important than ever.

“When you think about what the pandemic has done to our relationship with the outdoors, all of us have needed outdoor recreation to help us feel healthy and normal and to decompress and to visit with loved ones safely,” he said.

The LWCF was established in 1964, and now it dolls out $900 million collected from offshore oil drilling every year, per the Great American Outdoors Act that Congress passed in 2020.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Copyright 2022 KUNR Public Radio. To see more, visit KUNR Public Radio.

Kaleb Roedel