One year ago today, the US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in support of the Great American Outdoors Act, marking our country’s biggest conservation funding victory in decades. The bill became law a few weeks later, permanently providing dedicated funding for the Land & Water Conservation Fund, which helps communities across the continent protect and improve access to public outdoor spaces large and small.
As we look back at that major bipartisan victory, we’re looking forward to finally celebrating together – in person! Outside! – with many of our partners in the national Land & Water Conservation Fund Coalition, and with our collaborators on a Washington state project close to our hearts: protecting the Taneum watershed.
The Taneum project seeks to permanently protect 12,000 acres of irreplaceable Central Cascades forestland near the headwaters of the Yakima River. An exemplary large-scale LWCF project, reconnecting the “checkerboarded” parcels in this watershed will protect drinking water for the Yakima Valley and preserve critical fish and wildlife habitat while expanding recreation access for the area – popular with hikers, horseback riders, anglers and many others. By transferring these privately owned parcels in to public ownership, we’ll increase management efficiencies and facilitate forest-health treatments to help protect communities from catastrophic wildfire and other climate-change impacts.
The Taneum project wouldn’t be possible without the Great American Outdoors Act, and we’re working hard to secure the substantial LWCF funding needed for this transfer. Meanwhile, we’re also taking time to celebrate the special places across Washington protected by LWCF over the years. Check out the gallery below for a quick virtual trip to a sampling of these treasured spots.
Hidden Lake’s stillness is due in part to LWCF’s federal grant program, which has helped keep North Cascades National Park whole. Photo by Richard Sheibley, USGS, Public Domain.
Migratory snow geese at the Skagit Wildlife Area draw birdwatchers from around the world. This place is protected by LWCF. Photo by Michael McAuliffe.
Access to the Hoh River in Jefferson County was made possible by LWCF. Photo by Bridget Besaw.
Moses Coulee, on the spectacular Columbia Plateau in Douglas County, is protected by LWCF’s federal grant program – and it’s one of The Nature Conservancy’s largest preserves in Washington. Photo by Kit Swartz
Heybrook Lookout Trail, west of Stevens Pass, is in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, one of many National Forests protected by LWCF. Photo by Sony Thomas
Recreational access to the Skagit Wild & Scenic River is protected by LWCF. Photo by Bridget Besaw.
Columnar basalt at Deep Lake in Sun Lakes State Park, Grant County, heaven for geology geeks and boaters of all sorts. Photo by John Marshall.
The spectacular Olympic Mountains are headwaters for many salmon-bearing streams and a bucket-list destination for hikers. The Olympic National Forest and Olympic National Park have both benefited from LWCF protection. Photo by John Marshall.
The San Juan Islands offer world-class recreation, thanks in part to access and protection by LWCF. Photo by Joel Rogers.
Recreation on the Puyallup River in Pierce County is accessible to more families thanks to LWCF funding. Photo by Keith Lazelle.
In the North Cascades, campers enjoy the sunset in the Mount Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest in Whatcom County, protected by LWCF. Photo by Jacob Hall
Lake Cle Elum is in Wenatchee National Forest, Kittitas County, where we’re working to protect acres of forestland along the Pacific Crest Trail with support from LWCF. Photo by Zoe van Duivenbode
Willapa National Wildlife Refuge in Pacific County is protected by LWCF’s federal grant program and is adjacent to our Ellsworth Creek Preserve. Photo by Yoav Daniel Bar-Ness