04-05-21 | Legislation

New Secretarial Order Makes Changes to LWCF

President's Actions Fulfill ASLA's Policy Recommendation

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is America's most important program to conserve irreplaceable lands and improve outdoor recreation opportunities throughout the nation.

The Department of the Interior issued Secretarial Order 3396 to strengthen the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) by rescinding a former order that limited the availability of the funds for federal land and water acquisitions. Furthermore, Order 3396 made revisions to the National Park Service's Land and Water Conservation Fund Assistance Manual that resulted in removed restrictions to the funding.

The CEO and president of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), Kristine Stratton, issued a statement applauding the recent secretarial order from the Biden Administration that rescinds previously installed limitations on the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Stratton explained that the new order demonstrates a commitment to striving for equity outdoors and toward promoting quality parks and green spaces for everyone.


Her statement read, "We (NRPA) are excited the Department of the Interior (DOI) is beginning a thoughtful process to update the LWCF manual in a way that is consistent with the intent of the Great American Outdoors Act and upholds the purpose of the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) program."

The DOI actions reinstated components of the LWCF state assistance program and the ORLP that had been removed. According to the DOI, ORLP, "is the only LWCF competitive grant program dedicated to addressing the recreational gap in underserved urban areas."

Secretarial order 3396 also accomplished one of the policy recommendations sent from ASLA to the presidential administration. "ASLA is excited to see the Biden-Harris administration moving so quickly on key recommendations in our policy report, including this decision to remove restrictions on LWCF and reinstate critical funds for underserved communities," said Torey Carter-Conneen, CEO of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). "All people living in urban communities should have equal access to outdoor space. ASLA is committed to making that a reality and this is a huge step in the right direction."


Sign up for
LAWeekly newsletter. Get exclusive content today.