Outdoor businesses lobby for reauthorization of Land and Water Conservation Fund

    The Black's Ford fishing access point off of the Madison River is one of many fishing access points funded by the LWCF.jpg

    All 50 states benefited from the now-expired Land and Water Conservation Fund, but this rings especially true in Montana, where $580 million was directed to the state through the course of its life.

    This is why many in the state are now pushing for the reauthorization of the federal program after it expired in congress September 30th.

    "Tourism and the outdoor industry and outdoor recreation is a very big deal for business in Montana," said Diane Bristol with Simms Fishing.

    Like a lot of businesses in Montana, Simms Fishing, which manufactures its own Gore-Tex fishing waders in Bozeman, relies on the outdoors.

    The act which was established in 1964 used offshore drilling royalties to go towards parks, trails and access to public lands.

    Simms Fishing says over half of all fishing access points in the state were funded by the LWCF.

    And in a time of political division the act has received bipartisan support throughout the Montana congressional delegation, with support from Both Senator Tester and Senator Daines.

    "I think the fact that they recognize that and they're willing to support it regardless of whether they're republican or democrat really shows us the importance of our public access and just making sure we work to protect it," said Bristol.

    Non-profits and other organizations are lobbying for its permanent reauthorization.

    The offshore drilling revenues are now going into the treasury.

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