Public Lands in NH Benefit from Shaheen-Hassan Co-Sponsored Legislation that Fully Funds LWCF & Addresses Maintenance Backlog on U.S. Public LandsJanuary 15, 2021
**Shaheen & Hassan cosponsored the bill signed into law to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and help address the more than $43 million maintenance backlog in New Hampshire**
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) announced that five New Hampshire projects will benefit from funding through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund established by the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) to support outdoor recreation, conservation efforts and address maintenance needs. As a result of the bipartisan GAOA cosponsored by Shaheen and Hassan that was signed into law last year, the LWCF’s now-mandatory, full authorized funding level of $900 million was allocated to projects and programs in the fiscal year (FY) 2021 government funding legislation that became law in December. In addition, Congress listed specific projects to receive deferred maintenance funding for FY 2021 from the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund, which will provide up to $9.5 billion over the next five years to tackle deferred maintenance needs on public lands throughout the country. In New Hampshire, this backlog amounts to more than $43 million.
“Granite Staters know better than anyone the value of public lands, which contain some of our state and nation’s most breathtaking natural sites, boost our outdoor recreation economy and are home to precious wildlife. That’s exactly why I fought for the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act last year, which protects these beloved spaces,” said Senator Shaheen. “Thanks to this legislation, New Hampshire projects found throughout the state will receive critical funding to help address serious maintenance backlogs, strengthen conservation efforts, enhance outdoor recreation and ensure visitors can enjoy these lands today and in the years to come. I’ll continue to fight for congressional action to preserve and protect our environment and public lands.”
“New Hampshire is blessed with beautiful and extraordinary natural resources that are critical to our health, economy, and way of life, and define us as a people. We all have a responsibility to preserve and protect our natural treasures for generations to come, which is why Senator Shaheen and I worked across the aisle to get the Great American Outdoors Act across the finish line, and I’m thrilled that significant funding is now coming to New Hampshire. The resources that we announced today will allow even more Granite Staters and tourists to enjoy our public lands, helping both our environment and our outdoor economy thrive,” said Senator Hassan.
New Hampshire will benefit from the following LWCF funds:
- $2.75 million for Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, which will allow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to acquire new land and expand outdoor recreation opportunities such as photography, fishing, hunting and environmental education. Funding will support conservation easements in New Hampshire, as well as projects in other states covered by the refuge.
- $2.3 million for the Dundee Forest Legacy Project in Bartlett and Jackson for conservation efforts that will support wildlife, sustainable forestry and outdoor recreation opportunities.
- $220 million nationally for state conservation grants distributed by formula and $125 million for a competitive grants focused on urban areas.
Three maintenance projects that will receive deferred maintenance allocations through the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund are located within the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF). These include:
- Snowmobile Corridor 19 Trail Bridge Replacement
- The Mount Washington Valley/Chocorua Trails
- Sawyer River 2 Bridge Replacement
In September, the Senators announced two New Hampshire projects that will receive funding through the LWCF State and Local Assistance Program, which includes nearly $129,000 for improving 13 miles of the Rockingham Recreational Trail from Fremont to Windham and more than $45,000 for renovations and the addition of a multi-use support and picnic facility at Danielle Park in Franklin.
Shaheen and Hassan have led efforts to help secure full funding and permanent authorization for the LWCF, which has helped protect more than 2.5 million acres of land and supported tens of thousands of state and local outdoor recreation projects throughout the nation. Shaheen and Hassan’s bipartisan bill to permanently reauthorize the LWCF was included in legislation that was signed into law in 2019. Shaheen and Hassan also cosponsored the Restore Our Parks Act, bipartisan legislation included in the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) to address the $20 billion backlog in long delayed maintenance projects on public lands.
In July, Shaheen visited Glen Ellis Falls to discuss the deferred maintenance needs of the White Mountain National Forest and highlight the importance of permanently funding the LWCF, which helps preserve and maintain sites like Glen Ellis Falls. The WMNF, where Glen Ellis Falls is located, would also be eligible for maintenance funding under GAOA. Additionally, in July, Hassan toured the Jigger Johnson campground and hiked to Rocky Gorge in the White Mountain National Forest to discuss how GAOA will benefit these sites.
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