On August 4, the Great American Outdoors Act was signed into law. After decades of bipartisan efforts and citizen action, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) will be fully and permanently funded at $900 million. The LWCF is a national program that provides funds and matching grants to protect natural resources and outdoor recreation. The money that is allocated to the LWCF is primarily sourced from offshore oil and gas drilling projects.
The LWCF has preserved parks, forests, and wildlife areas across the nation. From coast to coast, it has protected America’s favorite outdoor spaces. From the Yellowstone National Park to local baseball fields and playgrounds, a LWCF project site may be somewhere you know and love. Many outdoor spaces and attractions along the Erie Canalway Trail have been preserved thanks to this funding.
The Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site in Buffalo is one location along the trail that has been affected by the LWCF. This site received a $900,000 grant in 2010 for the redevelopment of this site. The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership honors the late President’s legacy by advocating for the protection of quality conservation and, celebrates the passage of this momentous bill that protected his inauguration site. Whit Fosburgh, President and CEO of TRCP, said “The passage of this legislation proves that conservation is above partisan politics and that by working together we can leave a lasting legacy for the next generation of sportsmen and women.”
The site of the first Women’s Rights Convention, held in Seneca Falls, continues to tell its story 100 years later. Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls reminds visitors of the fight to vote and the global reformation struggles for equality that continue modernly. Funding from the LWCF enabled the acquisition of the Wesleyan Chapel, the very site of where Stanton and others planned this monumental convention. The Erie Canal had a crucial influence on the location of this turning point. The legacy of the convenience and access continues as this National Historical Park is a popular destination for travelers on the Canalway Trail corridor.
The Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge has greatly benefited from the LWCF. This wildlife refuge area protects countless species, including endangered fowl. The Montezuma Audobon Center was constructed through the LWCF. The LWCF awarded Montezuma $500,000 to construct this facility. The facility continues to accommodate visitors as well as a large exhibit area, classroom, store, offices, auditorium, and meeting space.
To find more projects funded by the LWCF in New York and beyond, go to https://www.lwcfcoalition.com/map-of-lwcf. Other past LWCF projects that have had an impact on the Erie Canalway Trail corridor include:
- $143,800 for development of the Canal trail and park in the Town of Amherst.
- $200,000 for improvements to the Canal Park in Greece in Monroe County.
- $174,615 for improvements to State parks and historic sites in the Finger Lakes region.
- $249,527 for acquisition at Green Lakes State Park.
- $100,000 for the development of Old Erie Canal State Park; $194,431 for the second stage of development of Old Erie Canal State Park.
- $41,536 for improvements to the Chittenango Falls building; $15,000 for rehabilitation to Chittenango Falls.
- $231,279 for the acquisition of Peebles Island State Park; $301,977 for the development of the Visitors Center at Peebles Island State Park.