Friday, September 18, 2015

Why Fishpond Founder supports Land and Water Conservation Funding

As an angler and bird hunter, I cherish opportunities to explore wide open spaces and float Oregon’s beautiful rivers. Sometimes these places are hard to access. I am constantly looking at maps, using my GPS to navigate the polygons of private and public ownership,  this is also the fun of exploring my backyard. Some places, wouldn't be accessible without Land and Water Conservation Funding. Until a couple years ago, I didn't know what LWCF was and why it was so important to fish and wildlife and public access. This critical fund is due to expire.  Read on, to find out more and why Fishpond Founder, Johnny Le Coq supports LWCF.   

A Brief History on LWCF:
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was established in 1965 as a bipartisan commitment to a simple idea: Invest a small portion of federal offshore drilling fees towards protecting important land, water, and recreation areas for all Americans to support the outdoor economy.   Since its inception, the fund has been used to invest over $16 billion in conservation and outdoor recreation, including the establishment of new public fishing areas, new corridors into previously inaccessible public lands, conservation easements and the acquisition of new public land parcels for the benefit of fish, wildlife, and the sporting public.  

Find out about projects funding in your state here.

This fund is due to expire and without reauthorization from Congress by September 30, 2015, we lose critical conservation dollars.

 This July, I attended IFTD for TRCP to build business support for LWCF.  At the show, I met  Johnny Le Coq, founder and CEO of Fishpond and Lilypond, brands designed and manufactured for the fishing and outdoor enthusiast. They created the company with the philosophy and inspiration, that innovation, design, and a responsibility towards the environment is critical to their success.  

Johnny knows why LWCF's is so important and why Congress needs to fully fund it.  This is what he had to say at the North American Wildlife Conference last year.

"The economics behind LWCF demands that we get the full funding appropriated for our natural resources. It is critical to my own business that depends on our watersheds, and just as important to every individual that values our open space, and public access for so many forms of recreation and enjoyment. The public access component of LWCF is crucial for the future of our hunting and fishing industry." 
The shared vision we need to foster for the next 50 years of the LWCF, which is teetering on a tight rope at the moment, is one of collaboration.  No longer can Washington or our State governments pave the necessary path for a sustainable future.  We need to create private/public partnerships that leverage the strengths of each.  From businesses like Fishpond, to private landowners who are willing to place their farmland or ranchland into conservation easements, we need to find the valuable synergies to help educate and tell the story of how our land, rivers and public places are the link to a vital economic future and a quality of life. The Outdoor Recreation Industry, a vast group of thousands of companies, must equally participate in raising the additional and critically important funds to augment the current conservation funding by the Federal and State governments. The Outdoor Recreation Industry must help lead the push for the full funding of LWCF, but they can’t stop there.  It is the responsibility of these American businesses to use the power of their consumer reach to raise additional funds to augment the shortfall of the hundreds of millions of dollars in conservation needs.  Government and taxes alone will not be enough to get us through our environmental challenges, and it will be important for companies like Fishpond to creatively join forces with government and non-profit groups to collaboratively reach our goals." 

We need your support to request that Congress fully and permanently reauthorize the LWCF to protect hunting and fishing and the recreational industry for years to come.  Tell your congressmen to fully fund LWCF by clicking on this link.