The Interior Department has released nearly $62 million to states for recreation and conservation projects.

National Parks Traveler reported that Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the Land and Water Conservation Fund grants Monday (June 11). The funding, which is made up of non-taxpayer dollars from Outer Continental Shelf lease revenues, is awarded through federal matching grants that leverage public and private investment in America’s state and local public parks.

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund State and Local Assistance Program demonstrates how we can work together to improve and expand access to public outdoor recreation opportunities, modernize our country’s park and recreation infrastructure, and support state and local communities with new jobs and other economic benefits,” said Secretary Zinke.

This year’s funds were made available through the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, which Congress enacted in 2006 to provide that certain Outer Continental Shelf revenues be disbursed to the states through grants under the LWCF State and Local Assistance Program administered by the Interior Department and National Park Service. This year’s distribution of GOMESA revenues is a significant increase from past years with this level of funding expected to continue into the future, Interior staff said. Moving forward, Interior will distribute these funds ahead of the traditional annual LWCF Appropriations.

“This is a great state-federal partnership that benefits all citizens,” said Secretary Zinke. “Making this change in distribution gets these funds to states so they can start creating public outdoor recreation opportunities earlier.”

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