02.26.19

Kilmer Applauds Passage of Bipartisan Public Lands Package

Bipartisan package includes permanent reauthorization of Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Kilmer-Heck Maritime Washington National Heritage Area Act, and the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area Act, among other Washington Priorities

Washington, D.C.— Today, the House voted to pass S. 47, the Natural Resources Management Act, a public lands package of more than one hundred public lands, natural resources, and water bills.

 “Growing up on the Olympic Peninsula, I’ve seen firsthand how our public lands have captivated both visitors and residents alike and served as key economic drivers for our local communities,” said Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA). “This bill delivers on our region’s long-standing priorities to protect our environment and support continued access to our public lands for generations to come. From the permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, to the creation of Washington’s first two National Heritage Areas, this bill represents a huge win for Washington state. I applaud the leadership of Senator Cantwell who fought tirelessly to ensure that our priorities were included.”

 The bill will permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to ensure that the program can continue supporting conservation and recreation in communities across the country. Since its creation, LWCF has supported more than 600 projects for parks, trails and other outdoor spaces in Washington, including popular sites like Olympic National Park, Lake Chelan, Gas Works Park, and Riverside State Park. In that time, the LWCF has invested $675 million in Washington’s economy.

 The package also includes a bill led by Representatives Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Denny Heck (D-WA) to establish a National Maritime Heritage Area in Washington state. The Kilmer-Heck Maritime Washington National Heritage Area Act (H.R. 975), which was championed in the Senate by Senators Cantwell (D-WA) and Murray (D-WA), would designate a majority of Western Washington’s shoreline as a National Heritage Area to help promote maritime-related tourism, economic development and maritime history as told through Washington state’s museums, historic ships, fishing culture and other activities. Congress has designated 49 National Heritage Areas nationwide to promote local economic growth and tourism and support sites and landmarks with cultural and historical significance.

 Additionally, the package includes the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Act, which designates 1.5 million acres of land stretching along the Interstate 90 corridor from Ellensburg to Seattle as an additional National Heritage Area in the Pacific Northwest.

 Additional important Washington provisions can be found here.

 Following passage by the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate earlier this month, S.47 will be sent to the President’s desk to be signed into law.