Alexander: Permanent Land and Water Conservation Fund Will Preserve Tennessee’s Great Outdoors for Generations

Posted on February 12, 2019

WASHINGTON, February 12, 2019 – United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said Senate passage of a bill to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) will help ensure Tennessee’s beautiful lands, water resources and recreation areas are protected and preserved for future generations. Over the past 50 years, the LWCF has provided Tennessee over $76 million for the state grant program; $92 million for federal land acquisition; and $33 million for the Forest Legacy program within the state.

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund has played a large role in protecting Tennessee’s outdoors for over 50 years, and in total, the LWCF has provided over $200 million to conservation and outdoor recreation efforts in Tennessee,” Alexander said. “I’m glad the Senate voted to permanently reauthorize the LWCF because it will help preserve our state’s beautiful land, water resources and recreation areas so future generations have the same opportunities to enjoy them as we have.”

Alexander is a cosponsor of the Natural Resources Management Act, which included the provision to make the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The legislation passed the Senate today by a vote of 92-8. The U.S. House of Representatives will now consider the legislation.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund was created to help preserve, develop and maintain access to outdoor recreation across the United States. The LWCF receives nearly all of its revenue from offshore oil and gas drilling and other activities that deplete natural resources. This revenue is then used to provide grants to states and funds conservation efforts by the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service and the Forest Service.

Over the past five decades, the LWCF has provided a total of $208.5 million for Tennessee conservation and outdoor recreation, including the following state and federal land acquisition projects:

  • Appalachian Trail and Rocky Fork: In its first 50 years, the LWCF helped protect nearly 200,000 acres within the Appalachian National Scenic Trail corridor which spans from Georgia to Maine. Rocky Fork, a nearly 10,000 acre tract that serves as Upper East Tennessee’s gateway to the Appalachian Trail, was protected in part due to funding from the LWCF. Today, 2,000 acres of the 10,000 acre tract have been acquired by the state to create the Lamar Alexander Rocky Fork State Park.  
  • Cumberland Mountains and Walls of Jericho: The Forest Legacy Program, which receives its funding from the LWCF, provided a majority of the funding necessary to conserve a nearly 9,000 acre tract in Tennessee known as the Walls of Jericho. The Walls of Jericho – which is also known as the Grand Canyon of the South – includes a geological feature that forms a large bowl shaped amphitheater. The nearly 9,000 acre tract is now managed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency as the Bear Hollow Mountain Wildlife Management Area and the 750 acres surrounding the gorge and amphitheater are managed by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation as the Walls of Jericho State Natural Area.  
  • John Tully State Forest: Acquisition of over 2,000 acres – to create the John Tully State Forest – from Anderson-Tully, a Memphis-based timber company, was funded in part by the Forest Legacy Program. John Tully State Forest was only the second state forest established in the last half-century and provides some of the state’s best hunting and fishing lands.