Members of Congress and Veterans Lead Rally on Steps of U.S. Capitol to Highlight Importance of Land and Water Conservation Fund

(Washington, DC) – Today, the Vet Voice Foundation(VVF) and U.S. Representatives Ted Lieu (CA-33) and Ruben Gallego (AZ-7) led a rally in front of the U.S. Capitol to urge Congress to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a critical source of funding for America’s most significant historic battlefields, monuments, and public lands.

Following his remarks on Capitol Hill, Major General (Ret.) Paul Eaton, Managing Director of VVF, stated “As Memorial Day Weekend approaches, iconic sites like Gettysburg and the 9/11 Memorial are under threat. Thousands of brave men and women who served this country are calling on lawmakers to make good on their commitment to the LWCF and preserve America's most significant historic battlefields and monuments for generations to come.”

Coinciding with today’s rally, a group of over 8,000 veterans from across the country sent a letter to Congress highlighting the LWCF’s five decades of success and calling for immediate reauthorization and funding of the LWCF to ensure the ongoing protection of American military heritage.

The letter, in part, states:

“For more than 50 years, the LWCF has provided critical grants that protect and enhance national treasures like American battlefields, our national parks and forests, and over 40,000 state and local park projects across the country.”

“By allowing the LWCF to expire, Congress is jeopardizing the preservation of American military heritage and the monuments to those who sacrificed.”

The full text of the letter can be found below.

Dear Senator,

Gettysburg. The 9/11 Memorial. These iconic sites are funded by the Land and Water
Conservation Fund, one of the nation's most successful conservation programs. Unless Congress acts, the LWCF will expire this September, eliminating funding that protects American military heritage.

For more than 50 years, the LWCF has provided critical grants that protect and enhance national treasures like American battlefields, our national parks and forests, and over 40,000 state and local park projects across the country.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund, America’s most important conservation and recreation
program, a program that has saved places in nearly every state and county in the United States,
will expire this September 30 unless Congress moves to renew and fund. For fifty-two years, this fund, at no taxpayer cost (funded by offshore oil and gas royalties to the federal government), has improved the lives of countless Americans and foreign tourists - all of whom generate considerable profits in the surrounding communities where the LWCF has created value.

The LWCF exists because of Teddy Roosevelt’s vision to start protecting our recreational
opportunities, Dwight D. Eisenhower’s instinct for conservation action, John F. Kennedy’s
commitment to the outdoors, and Lyndon B. Johnson’s creation of LWCF that we as Americans
now have the most extensive network of open spaces in the world to hunt, fish, hike, swim and
play.

By allowing the LWCF to expire, Congress is jeopardizing the preservation of American military
heritage and the monuments to those who sacrificed. Congress should immediately fund and
reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund at its full amount to ensure beneficial
investment in management of America’s battlefields, monuments, and all public lands.