How the Land & Water Conservation Fund makes our National Parks Whole

Sep 17, 2015

By Center for Western Priorities

When Congress establishes a new national park, private lands sometimes remain within the boundaries of the park—areas known as inholdings. Inholdings can be at risk of development, as occurred when a luxury home was built inside Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado.

But if a willing property owner wants to sell his or her inholding to the National Park Service and protect the land for future generations, the only source of funding available to make the purchase is the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Since 1965, LWCF has been used to protect 2.2 million acres of lands managed by the National Park Service.

LWCF expired on September 30, 2015, leaving no way for our national parks to continue to be made whole. As we approach the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016, we need LWCF to help complete the legacy of our national parks.

Using new data that’s never been released to the public before, the Center for Western Priorities has created an interactive map that reveals exactly how much of our national park land has been protected using LWCF. It highlights parts of our national parks with proposed protections in 2016, and which parks still have inholdings that will be at risk for development if Congress doesn’t renew the LWCF.

Explore the map

Take action

To tell Congress to renew the LWCF, sign this petition at It’s supported by the LWCF Coalition.

Learn more

To learn more about how the LWCF helps local parks, urban renewal projects, and multi-agency projects like the Pacific Crest Trail, read more from the Center for Western Priorites.