Wyoming outdoor recreation to benefit from recently signed Great American Outdoor Act

WYOMING — Bolstered by bipartisan Congressional support, the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), recently signed into law by President Donald Trump, provides full and permanent funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

This legislation ensures that Wyoming and the rest of the nation will benefit from funding for land and water conservation projects, recreational construction, and historic preservation.

Although funding has been inconsistent over the years, public lands and local recreation has benefitted throughout the nation. This new legislation ensures funds are set aside for conservation and recreation and will not be redirected for other purposes.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is noted as one of America’s most important conservation programs. It is funded from the federal oil and gas leases on the Outer Continental Shelf pursuant to the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act and appropriated by Congress.

Administered by the Wyoming State Parks & Cultural Resources agency’s Division of State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails, this year’s LWCF funding for the Cowboy State totaled $1,843,483. Since its inception, the program has funded hundreds of recreational projects throughout Wyoming totaling nearly $40 million.

Some examples from last year’s funding included a grant to the Town of Marbleton to building a community fishing pond, the City of Sundance to build a central park, and the City of Cheyenne to replace synthetic turf on a baseball field.

Kathy Lenz of the City of Sundance Treasurer’s Office is excited about this project in her community.

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund grants are an invaluable asset to us,” Lenz said. “These grants make it possible for us to fund recreational facilities that we normally wouldn’t be able to.”

“We encourage communities to apply and to call with any project planning or grant application questions,” Wyoming State Parks Grant Manager Louisa Lopez said. “There is still time to put some planning and thought into your projects as these applications will be due at the end of the year.”

To be eligible, the project site must be maintained for public outdoor recreation for perpetuity, and the applicant must be a municipality, county, school district, or recreation district. LWCF grant applications must be postmarked no later than December 31.

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