We Just Sent a Clear Message to Congress to Fund Public Lands

Senator Cantwell thanked the crowd for pitching in with their favorite LWCF-protected places. “What better way to celebrate the United States of America than celebrating what is so great in the public spaces we all get to enjoy?” Photo by Stevie Rotella

We spent yesterday morning in the company of more than a hundred friends and neighbors at Green Lake Park in Seattle, gathered together in support of America’s most important conservation program, the Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), and all the special places it protects.

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell hosted the event. She was joined by speakers sharing their perspectives as business owners, veterans, parents, community leaders and Washingtonians on why LWCF needs to be permanently reauthorized and fully funded before it expires on Sept. 30.

“We just have six weeks left to reauthorize this important program or this investment could be in jeopardy,” said Sen. Cantwell. “Between now and Sept. 30, we need every American to contact both their House and Senate member and tell them how important the Land & Water Conservation Fund is to save.”

Check out a few of our favorite photos from the event:

And get an idea about the different types of people who spoke in support of LWCF:

De’Sean Quinn, Tukwila City Council

Tukwila City Council Member De’Sean Quinn said it well when he called LWCF-protected parks and open space “infrastructure for our well-being.” Photo by Stevie Rotella

“Access to quality parks is a right, not a privilege. You can’t look at the big picture of addressing equity and social justice without considering the impact of parks on communities and neighborhoods…
Beautiful, well-maintained parks and open space build communities and inspire pride in our neighborhoods.”
“As a father, we know that parks encourage play, and they provide opportunities to engage with nature. It is our responsibility to provide access to open space and outdoor recreation for all members of our community, regardless of age, income level, heritage, language, and ability. This is quite frankly a quality of life issue. Parks and open space is infrastructure for our well-being.”

Rick Hegdahl, Program Director for Vet Voice Foundation

Rick Hegdahl from the Vet Voice Foundation shared the importance of conserving our history through LWCF.  Photo by Heather Van Steenburgh.

“The preservation of military heritage sites… helps teach and inform future generations about the sacrifice of American servicemembers throughout history.”
“Without the Land and Water Conservation Fund, we will assuredly fail the next generation of Americans by allowing key historical landmarks recreational open spaces and access to our public lands vanish forever.”

Steve McClure CFO of Cascade Designs and Board Member, The Mountaineers

“Let’s not make the mistake of assuming these wild spaces will always be there. Let’s all support the LWCF. Let’s all pay it forward.”

Business owner Petra Hilleberg said the outdoor recreation industry is about so much more than selling gear: “We all got into it because we love to play outside!”  Photo by Stevie Rotella

Petra Hilleberg, President and CEO, Hilleberg Tentmaker

“Having access to outdoor green space is a totally nonpartisan issue. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or a Democrat, a hunter or a backpacker, a climber or a fisherman, we all need the Land and Water Conservation Fund."