Preserving America's Natural Treasures for the 21st Century
Earth Day 1998

During the past five years, under the leadership of President Clinton and Vice President Gore, nearly 150 million acres of public and private lands have been protected or enhanced. Major new initiatives will build on this impressive conservation legacy and carry it into the 21st century.

Saving our Natural and Cultural Heritage

Through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the Clinton Administration is permanently protecting scores of nationally significant sites from Maine to Florida and Hawaii to Alaska by acquiring important properties threatened by development or needed for conservation efforts.

Pending Action. In the Balanced Budget Agreement, the President secured $699 million for Fiscal Year 1998 through the LWCF, which draws revenue from federal oil and gas leasing. Much of that total is earmarked for acquisition of California's Headwaters Forest, the largest remaining stand of old-growth redwoods in private hands, and the proposed New World Mine outside Yellowstone National Park. The President is proposing to use the remaining $362 million to acquire 100 natural and historic gems in 35 states. The Administration's list was submitted in early February and awaits final signoff by Congress. Projects include:

    Completion of the Appalachian Trail - Acquisition of the last private stretches of America's longest footpath will complete the 2,157-mile national scenic trail, which connects 14 states from Maine to Georgia.

    Winter Range for Yellowstone Bison - Purchase of the Royal Teton Ranch, adjacent to Yellowstone, will provide critical winter forage for the park's bison and elk.

    Protecting Civil War Battlefields - New acquisitions would preserve 1,218 acres at six Civil War battlefields, including Antietam, Monocacy, Fredericksburg and Gettysburg.

    Restoring Salmon in the Pacific Northwest - Two dams blocking native salmon runs on Washington's Elwha River would be acquired and their removal begun.

5-Year Plan. The President's budget proposes a 43 percent increase in LWCF acquisitions, or nearly $2 billion in all over the next five years. Priorities areas include:
    Florida's Everglades - New acquisitions would help complete the nation's largest ecosystem restoration by providing buffers between natural and urban areas.

    Northern Forests - Large tracts of private forest from New York to Maine now coming on the market offer exceptional recreation opportunities and critical wildlife habitat.

    Southern California - Acquisitions would provide extraordinarily diverse recreational and scenic opportunities for over 30 million people in a fast-growing urban region.

A New Century for America's Forests

America's 155 national forests are our leading source of outdoor recreation -- visited more than twice as often as our national parks -- and the source of 80 percent of the nation's fresh water. An ambitious new science-based agenda for the national forests places greater emphasis on recreation, wildlife and water quality, while reforming logging practices to ensure steady, sustainable supplies of timber and jobs. Key elements include:

    A Moratorium on Road Building - A proposed road-building moratorium would allow a scientific review to guide decisions on the future of "roadless areas," which include some of America's last wilds. The proposal is part of a broader science-based strategy to better manage forest roads by deciding where new ones can be built, which existing ones should be maintained, and which can be decommissioned.

    Clean Water from Healthy Forests - National forests are America's headwaters, and a renewed emphasis on watershed protection will ensure clean, steady supplies. The President's proposed Fiscal Year 1999 budget includes $76 million to restore fish and wildlife habitat along 2,656 miles of streams.

    Sustaining Rural Communities - To ensure steady federal support for rural roads and schools, the Administration is proposing to substitute fixed funding levels for the present system, which links county revenues to timber harvests which may rise or fall.

    Ending Timber Road Subsidies - The President's Fiscal Year 1999 budget would reduce funding for new timber roads and eliminate the "purchaser road credit" program, which subsidizes logging by private timber companies.

Preserving and Restoring Our Parks and Public Lands

As custodians of our national parks, refuges, forests, and other public lands, it is our obligation to maintain them for future generations. These lands draw more than 400 million visitors a year, and another 45,000 people work on them. But on many, deteriorating infrastructure threatens the health and safety of workers and visitors. The President's Budget proposes nearly $1 billion in new resources over five years for critical construction, maintenance and repair of campgrounds, dams, bridges, historic buildings, and utility systems. Over 70 percent of the proposed funding in Fiscal Year 1999 will go to meet health and safety needs. Priorities include:

    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Replacement of two unsafe bridges at Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge, South Carolina; rehabilitation of a leaking sewage lagoon at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge, Washington, to keep contaminants from wetlands and wells; rehabilitation of deteriorated fires lanes and access roads at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, Wisconsin.

    Bureau of Land Management - Replacement of water treatment system to meet drinking water standards at Upper Snake River, Idaho.

    National Park Service - Rehabilitation of inadequate utility system at Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.

    National Forest Service - Replacement of water system, San Joaquin, California.

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