WASHINGTON – Today an unprecedented coalition of more than 600 organizations representing tens of millions of citizens with diverse political backgrounds and areas of interest united behind a shared understanding that federal investments in natural resource conservation, outdoor recreation and historic preservation programs are vital to the future of our great nation.
The coalition, co-chaired by John Nau, immediate past president of the Civil War Trust, and Bill Meadows, president of The Wilderness Society, sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid acknowledging the tremendous fiscal challenges America faces as the result of unsustainable deficits. The letter also offered to engage Congress to quantify the economic benefits of natural resource conservation, outdoor recreation and historic preservation programs as a means to inform budgetary decision-making.
“Investments in natural resource conservation, historic preservation and outdoor recreation comprise roughly 1 percent of the federal budget yet provide a return on investment that far exceeds the cost to the taxpayer. Just ask anyone who has ever enjoyed our great American wilderness, or benefitted from the clean air and water those lands provide, or the local economies they support,” said Meadows.
“Historic preservation programs fuel jobs and produce strong returns on public investments that impact primarily rural communities and cannot be exported to foreign countries. We are committed to working closely with Congress to identify savings while also supporting the programs that most effectively achieve these results,” said Nau.
This diverse coalition, comprised of more than 600 groups, organizations and businesses, is urging this Congress to look at these programs as critical investments, which can help America grow its way out of our financial challenges.
“Over the years, federal conservation programs have helped leverage billions of dollars of non-federal money to conserve millions of acres of critical habitat, thus helping to preserve America’s rich hunting and fishing traditions,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, one of the many sporting groups that is helping to lead the coalition.