By Jeff Todd
DENVER (CBS4) – Cries are getting louder from the Rocky Mountains and many people are hoping the echoes are heard in Washington to preserve the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund is arguably the most successful conservation campaign in the history of our nation,” said Scott Willoughby with Trout Unlimited.
The fund is made from royalties on offshore oil and gas developments. It’s been a bipartisan fund since 1964, but now only has one month left.
“There’s zero impact to taxpayers,” said Willoughby. “There are no losers. This has been extremely beneficial to the State of Colorado.”
Over the life of the fund Colorado has received nearly $270 million. It’s benefited projects from access to Rocky Mountain National Park or even small trail improvements in Denver and Aurora.
“The outdoor recreation industry is so critical to the State of Colorado and to this nation,” said Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora. “To be able to preserve open space, to be able to have more recreational amenities, to allow a growing population to enjoy them in the state of Colorado.”
Two hundred and thirty-two Representatives, including Colorado’s Coffman, DeGette, Polis and Perlmutter, have co-sponsored a bill allowing the fund to live on, but it hasn’t even had a committee hearing.
“The world isn’t getting any smaller,” said Willoughby. “People are looking for places to get outside and play and this is a great way to fund that without any impact on your pocket book or my pocketbook.”
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.