The Pacific Crest Trail’s most important land protection funding source will expire in a week. You can help save it.

The 1964 Land and Water Conservation Fund, the country’s most important conservation funding program, is set to expire on Sunday, Sept. 30, unless Congress renews it.

We have a week to save this program that is crucial to the PCT’s long-term protection.

For the Pacific Crest Trail, the expiration of the LWCF would be hugely detrimental to our ability to protect land along the trail that still is held by private landowners. The PCTA and other conservation and recreation groups across the country are fighting to save this much-needed source of money for land protection projects.

Mount Jefferson, Oregon. Photo by Tim Allami.

About 10 percent of the PCT is still owned by private interests. Many other private parcels along the trail are important conservation targets as well. We want to work with willing landowners to make sure the trail is protected forever. Unless we are successful, much of that land could fall to development, timber harvests, transmission lines, pipelines and the like.

Your voice matters in these final days. The time to act is NOW.

You can learn more about the LWCF from previous posts to our blog. What’s important to know is that a majority of the House of Representatives is in favor of renewing this program. It’s up to all of us to convince House leadership to bring the issue up for a vote.

Contact your senators and Congressional representative and tell them that you support reauthorization and full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Tell them how much you love the PCT and educate them on how important this program is to the future of the trail. You can also write and submit a letter to the editor to your local newspaper voicing your support for the LWCF and urging Congress to act.

Mount Adams, Washington. Photo by Deems Burton.

I’ll leave you today with a few words from Dick Martin, who was Superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks from 2001-2005. Now retired, he worked for the National Park Service for more than four decades. He recently wrote an essay in the Bakersfield Californian urging Congress to save the LWCF.

“As a lifelong outdoor enthusiast and 43-year career veteran of the National Park Service, I have had the privilege of both recreating at and managing some of the most spectacular resources protected by LWCF, including Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks,” he wrote. “Whether helping to conserve our world-class national public lands or improving unique recreational areas like Kern River State Park where our families go to camp and kayak, LWCF has had a massive positive impact on communities in the Central Valley and across California — and all at zero cost to American taxpayers. Instead, LWCF uses a small percentage of federal offshore drilling fees to fund these important land improvement and conservation initiatives that we all benefit from.”

The Pacific Crest Trail in Kings Canyon National Park. June 25, 2017. Photo by Owen Rojek

The Pacific Crest Trail in Kings Canyon National Park, California. Photo by Owen Rojek.

Author: Mark Larabee

Mark Larabee is the PCTA's Advocacy Director. He is the former editor of the "PCT Communicator" magazine and co-author of "The Pacific Crest Trail: Exploring America's Wilderness Trail" published in 2016. Larabee is a journalist, part of a team who won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news for The Oregonian newspaper. He hiked the PCT across Oregon for a 2005 series for the paper and has been with PCTA since 2010. He lives in Portland.