The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) – a long-standing, highly successful conservation program that has substantially helped in building the Appalachian Trail – is set to expire this year. Congressionally established more than five decades ago, LWCF must be reauthorized by Congress before September 30, 2018 to continue. Otherwise this vital program could tragically disappear.
Over the years, LWCF has greatly benefitted the A.T. in adding open space around the Trail to create a 250,000-acre greenway that traverses 14 states, from Maine to Georgia. The A.T. landscape connects significant public lands in the eastern United States and protects scenic vistas, wildlife habitats, forests, meadows, wetlands, farmlands and areas of historic significance.
Through LWCF, it has been possible to preserve scenic open spaces along the Trail, improve recreational access for millions of residents in the Eastern United States, support sustainable tourism in hundreds of communities, and ensure that important wildlife migratory routes remain intact.