An Expiring Fund Spurs Economic Development in Appalachian Ohio

Andy Jones, June 20, 2018

The Hocking Hills Region has been my home for most of my life. It is a bustling ecotourism destination due in large part to its public lands and natural wonders: Old Man’s Cave, Ash Cave, Hocking Hills State Park, Cedar Falls, Clear Creek, and the Wayne National Forest, to name a few. These places have more in common than their natural beauty and wonders, because they are also made accessible to residents and visitors through funding by the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

Since becoming law in 1964, the federal LWCF has helped spur economic development through the protection and promotion of public lands. LWCF money has been used to improve trails, build and maintain needed infrastructure, and acquire new lands, all of which benefits the local economy by drawing visitors from around the world.

Since 1964, the LWCF has been authorized for two 25-year periods, but in 2015, it was only authorized for 3 years. That means, on September 30, 2018, the LWCF will need to be reauthorized. From waterfalls to caves full of ancient wonders, the sites of the Hocking Hills Region are deserving of protection. The LWCF provides vital resources to the places that define our region. The Hocking Hills have already given so much to us, it is time we give them something in return. Lend your voice to your favorite touchstone of tranquility, help us ensure LWCF is renewed for a generation to come.

The Hocking Hills Region is just one example of direct economic revitalization as a result of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, but there are thousands of communities throughout the country which have benefited from protected public lands.