Friday, October 2, 2015

Land, Water, Conservation....and Washington DC

The last 72 hours were a bit, aaaah, crazy.

I was fortunate to join Backcountry Hunters and Anglers in their Washington D.C. fly in to help support the reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

It was a on the fly education in the processes of the capital, the intense give and take of the political game, and finding hope for our purpose

The long and the short of it, government had till September 30th to reauthorize the historic, 50+ year old fund that takes money from offshore oil and gas leases and puts it back into conservation, access, and just about anything that helps to enhance the outdoor experience.  Think sportsmans easements, walking trails and ballfields.  It's that varied, and the fund has effected just about every county in the country at one time or another

As guessed, the bill was killed in the political game of parties and political rhetoric.   But not all hope was lost, as Congress passed a continuing resolution to avoid government shutdown and maintain current funding levels for 2 months in the effort to get their ducks in a row.

What was really remarkable was watching the impact that our team's presence had, even in the one day of lobbying for our cause.   Washington's senators all are tremendous backers of getting the fund reauthorized, and there appears to be broad based bipartisan support to make it happen.    From our USDA breakfast at 645am to our last meeting, we saw what our meetings did.  Senator after senator took to the floor of the senate and spoke passionately about what the LWCF means to them.   Former foes turned into allies.  Yes, the fund didnt get the authorization, but the Washington political machine was turning the right way

And due to the continuing resolution,  lets hope that the LWCF moves to authorization and eventually authorization into perpetuity.

So my 72 hours in Washington was an education on the run.   Get up to speed, and fast.   It's fired me up to continue to work to further conservation efforts from the smallest event to maybe another trip to the capital.  Who knows, but what I have realized, is that unless you get in the're letting the other side win