Protecting the Land and Water Conservation Fund


An overwhelming majority of Coloradans agree that protecting our watersheds, preserving our natural resources and conserving our priceless public lands are not only important for our health and environment, but also for our state’s thriving outdoor economy.

We were recently reminded of the incredible beauty and value of our land at the Tolland Ranch property we visited last month. In a field near South Boulder Creek, we joined members of the local community to celebrate the designation of a 3,300-acre conservation easement, the centerpiece of a 4,700-acre project to preserve the property.

This project on the Toll family land — which they have owned for more than 120 years — was a top priority for the U.S. Forest Service. It ensures that water supplies to Denver and Boulder remain healthy, that the scenic landscape remains unchanged, that a diversity of wildlife continues to inhabit the entire area and that the world-class Nordic trails on the property remain accessible to the public.

The South Boulder Creek Project is a shining example of what can be done to protect our watersheds and public lands when private landowners, conservationists and federal, state and local governments join forces. And this project and others like it could not have been completed without federal dollars from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

The LWCF operates under a simple concept that has endured for half a century. The fund reinvests a small portion of the royalties from offshore oil and gas drilling to permanently conserve our land and water. The program doesn’t use a dime of taxpayer money.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.