The State of Georgia has been allocated nearly 5.7 million to fund park, outdoor recreation and conservation projects. The funds are Georgia’s cut of more than $227 million in Land and Water Conservation monies that were split between all 50 states, five U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
This year’s LWCF allocation represents a 57 percent increase from last year, according to the Interior Department Secretary David Bernhard
“This is significant, as the LWCF leverages additional public and private dollars to expand outdoor recreation opportunities for the American people and invest in conservation projects across the country,” Bernhard said in an April 2 statement.
An $11,800 matching grant through the LWCF program was instrumental in the acquisition of Henderson Falls Park in 1969 and another $99,885 contributed to the development of the park in 1974. LWCF funds also contributed $104,100 to the development of Alewine Park in 1976
LWCF funds, which come from federal offshore oil and gas lease revues, are administered by the National Park Service and awarded as federal matching grants.
“Using zero taxpayer dollars, LWCF invests earnings from offshore oil and gas leasing to help rehabilitate and improve infrastructure at state and local parks and other recreation areas,” Bernhardt said upon the announcement of the 2019 funding. “Funds will also be used to maximize access by opening up landlocked public lands. A small investment in a little strip of land can open up thousands of acres to outdoor recreation enthusiasts.”
The LWCF, established by congressional legislation in 1964, provides money to federal, state and local governments to purchase land, water and wetlands to “ensure public access to outdoor recreation resources.” and permanently conserve outdoor recreation areas. Funds granted to state and local governments through the LWCF can be used to improve parks and other recreation areas in their communities by rehabilitating and upgrading existing parks, creating brand new parks in places that have none, and developing and expanding trail systems to link communities together and create recreation opportunities.
Since LWCF's creation, more than $4.4 billion has been made available to state and local governments to fund more than 43,000 projects throughout the nation. The LWCF Program has resulted in Georgia receiving in excess of $85 million in matching funds since the inception of the program. Since fiscal year 2000, Georgia has received more than $23 million, and the 2019 award to Georgia was $4,389,379.