Arizona gets $5.6M from feds for recreation, conservation work
The Department of Interior distributed $279 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to all 50 states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia in support of state-identified outdoor recreation and conservation projects.
Arizona received $5.6 million in funding, and the state will then allocate these funds to local projects.
“One of the best investments we can make is in stewarding the lands and waters that sustain us and the generations to come,” Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said in a press release.
“We are making critical investments that will help expand access to the outdoors for communities across the country, all while creating jobs and safeguarding the environment from the effects of climate change,” she added.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund was developed in 1965, according to the Department of the Interior, and it has funded $5.1 billion dollars in support of 45,000 projects across the U.S.
The fund supports increased public access to and protection of federal public lands and waters, including national parks, forests, wildlife and recreation areas, the department said.
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund is an integral part of advancing President Biden’s conservation vision, which recognizes the need to address the nature and climate crises, improve equitable access to the outdoors, and strengthen the economy,” Haaland said in a press release.
The allocation of funds is determined by a population-based apportionment formula set in the Land and Water Conservation Act, according to the department.
“Access to outdoor recreation helps strengthen and enrich communities,” National Park Service Director Chuck Sams said in a press release.
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund helps enable state and local governments to upgrade parks and recreation areas in their communities and create new outdoor spaces to ensure everyone has access to recreation opportunities close to home,” he added.
According to the National Park Service, under the Land and Water Conservation Fund, more than 40,000 grants have been approved to states and localities for the acquisition, development, and planning of outdoor recreation opportunities in the United States.
“Grants have supported the purchase and protection of three million acres of recreation lands and over 29,000 projects to develop basic recreation facilities in every state and territory of the nation,” the National Park Service said on their website. “75% of the total funds obligated have gone to locally sponsored projects to provide close-to-home recreation opportunities.”
Arizona is home to 22 national parks.
For a full list of the appropriated funds, visit the Department of Interior website.
This report was first published by the Arizona Mirror.