Colorado Public Lands On Tap For $4 Million Boost

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
The towering red rock cliffs and spires of Colorado National Monument are just a few miles outside of Grand Junction — public land close enough to enjoy up close and personally after a day at work for anyone in the city so inclined. This is a view from Red Canyon Overlook on Rim Rock Drive, on the way up from the East Entrance.

Colorado is going to get $3.88 million from the federal government for state public lands. 

The money comes out of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and will be divided between all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. This state-side money will be used for grants for local parks, recreation and state parks.

In total, the Interior Department released about $227 million through the LWCF for states, which comes from royalties paid by energy companies drilling for oil and gas on the Outer Continental Shelf. It’s also bolstered by funds that come through the LWCF from the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act.

 Interior Secretary David Bernhadt called the funding announcement “significant,” pointing out that is a $57 million increase from last year. The department attributed that to President Donald Trump’s energy agenda, which led to more revenue. 

Still, the LWCF is not fully funded, and the Trump budget nearly zeroed out the account.

The $227 million s about half of the $495 million Congress appropriated to the LWCF this fiscal year. 

"During this current crisis we have seen — now more than ever — the powers of the outdoors," said Jim Petterson Colorado state director for the conservation group, The Trust for Public Land. "These funds will help to create parks and protect open space for people across the country.”