Montana needs full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) right now. The LWCF has been in place for decades and since its inception, it has brought in over $600 million to help build parks, expand river access, fix trails, and facilitate our outdoor way of life. Like many students, I chose to attend UM because of the wonderful opportunities to get outside and explore nature around Missoula. In my first month in town, I used the bike path system to go the Clark Fork Market at Caras Park, I hiked countless trails in the Rattlesnake, and wandered the river at Kelly Island. Little did I know, I was able to do that because of the LWCF. Each of those places either exists or has been maintained because of LWCF grants to the City of Missoula, the State of Montana or the Forest Service.
Montana is fortunate to have a Senator who is in the majority party, sits on the Appropriations Committee, and is in a position to ensure that this program is fully funded at no taxpayer expense. However, that Senator has failed to bring a bill forward to do just that. Every year, Congress diverts money intended to fund this program and every year Steve Daines fails to act. We need Steve Daines to step up right now and fully fund the LWCF so we can continue this way of life that we love so much.