LWCF and State Parks – what a Wednesday!
Yesterday was an inspiring day, focused on conservation, recreation, and the economics behind it all.
First, we had the honor of hosting Congressman Charlie Bass in our Concord store. It was inspiring to hear Congressman Bass, our CEO Will Manzer, and representatives from the Nature Conservancy and the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests discuss threats to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and why this program is so vital to New Hampshire. The quick version? As Bass said, “I have long been a supporter of conservation programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Community Forest Program because they have had a positive impact on preserving our state’s resources and boosting our economy. ” (See the bottom of this post for some resources on the subject…)
Next, I headed over to the seacoast to participate in the Northeast State Park Association Annual Meeting, hosted by NH State Parks. Participating in the luncheon at the Seacoast Science Center, the roundtable discussion, and the guided tour of the new Hampton Beach State Park facilities gave me the opportunity to meet some very enthusiastic state park directors from MD to VT and (almost) everywhere in between. This group is truly dedicated to improving the experience at, the access to, and the value of our state parks, ensuring we continue to have great places to play in our local communities. We’re looking forward to continuing to learn more about how we can partner with these and other organizations.
My takeaways from the day? 1) There are a lot of very passionate people working very hard to ensure that Jacey and her peers have as much opportunity to play outdoors as we did as children. 2) While I certainly know a good deal about these topics, there’s a lot more that can be learned. 3) I have a wicked cool job.
Factoids from the LWCF Coalition website…
Active outdoor recreation provides a powerful building block in our national economy that supports more than 6.5 million jobs (1 out of 20 jobs in the U.S.) and contributes more than $730 billion annually, according to the Outdoor Industry Association. Check out the Outdoor Industry Association’s National Economic Impact Report.
The Trust for Public Land has found that every $1 spent on LWCF returns $4 in economic value such as protecting water quality and supply.
The LWCF program has permanently protected nearly five million acres of public lands including some of America’s most treasured assets such as Grand Canyon National Park, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, the White Mountain National Forest, and Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, the nation’s first federal refuge.
Here’s a link to the NH factsheet. There are factsheets available for all 50 states!
And finally, a cool interactive map from The Nature Conservancy, showing LWCF projects across the country.