Panel Discussion, “Health, the Outdoors and Montana’s Economy” The Ripple Effects of fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund

Tuesday, Dec. 17, 1-3 pm Red Oxx 310 N 13th St., Billings, MT

Montana’s thriving outdoor recreation amenities are crucial to Montana’s overall outdoor economy and way of life; both of which benefit greatly from a fully funded Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). 

The Land and Water Conservation Fund was established by Congress in 1964 with the intent of fulfilling a promise to safeguard America’s public lands, creating high quality outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans. LWCF uses zero taxpayer dollars; instead using revenue from federal offshore oil and gas leases as its primary source of funding. The Fund is based on a simple concept: take revenues from the depletion of one resource – offshore oil and gas – and use them to conserve community parks, wildlife refuges, forests, open spaces, trails and wildlife habitat. The LWCF Act authorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund at an annual level of $900 million, but only twice in more than 50 years of the program has Congress fully authorized this amount. As Congress debates whether to fulfill its promise on LWCF, this panel discussion will help offer more context on the importance of LWCF in Montana – both from a business/economics and health/wellness perspective. Senator Tester and Senator Daines have both sponsored legislation to fully fund LWCF.  Representative Gianforte remains uncommitted to the same.

Billings has benefitted greatly from past LWCF projects. In fact, until 2019 our Parks Department has applied for and received more than $1.5 million in funds to develop the following parks:

Grant NameGrant AmountYear ApprovedYear Completed
OPTIMIST PARK$18,540.0019661968
ROSE PARK$14,928.9919661967
LILLIS PARK$23,972.8219661967
BILLINGS RIVERFRONT ACQ$37,472.9519681976
ROSE PARK$75,975.6619701973
BILLINGS TRAILS END PARK$821.2519701971
BILLINGS LOGAN PARK$4,544.2519711971
BILLINGS PARKS ADDITIONS$9,177.6119711972
BILLINGS WILSON ACQ$7,950.0019721972
BILLINGS STEWART PARK$55,036.7819721974
BILLINGS – AMEND PARK A/$122,480.0019741978
BILLINGS – PONDEROSA PARK /D$10,076.1419741977
BILLINGS STEWART PARK$12,938.5819751979
BILLINGS – PIONEER PARK /D$36,053.7819751978
BILLINGS – SOUTH PARK /D$26,102.6019751978
BILLINGS STEWART PARK$22,984.7819751978
BILLINGS-PAR 3 GOLF COURSE$277,819.9819751979
BILLINGS STEWART PARK$2,981.5019761978
BILLINGS EDGERTON PARK$16,197.4619781980
BILLINGS AREA CONSOLIDATED GRANT$15,352.8919791984
BILLINGS AREA CONSOLIDATED GRANT$4,013.0419791984
BILLINGS AREA CONSOLIDATED GRANT$19,374.8119791984
BILLINGS TRAILS END PARK$7,706.4619791984
BILLINGS AREA CONSOLIDATED GRANT$7,827.3119791984
BILLINGS CASTLE ROCK PARK$17,500.0019801985
BILLINGS RIVERFRONT PARK$160,044.0219811984
BILLINGS CENTRAL PARK$28,908.0319811986
BILLINGS HIGHLAND PARK$20,000.0019811986
BILLINGS POLY VISTA PARK$8,500.0019811986
1985 STATEWIDE COMMUNITY PROJECTS$21,768.7019851987
BILLINGS RIVERFRONT PARK ACQ.$42,674.4519871991
BILLINGS RIVERFRONT PARK$47,033.5619891993
BILLINGS HAWTHORNE PARK$54,065.2219911995
BILLINGS STEWART PARK$56,789.0919911995
CITY OF BILLINGS DESCRO PARK TRAIL$90,900.0020012006
CITY OF BILLINGS DOWNTOWN SKATEPARK$89,325.0020032007
BILLINGS SOUTH PARK PLAYGROUND$75,000.0020142019
$1,542,837.71
BILLINGS CENTRAL PARK TENNIS COURTS$250,000.002019

The discussion will offer an opportunity for businesses and local health care leaders to explore the connection between Montana’s public lands and waters and overall health of our communities. Business for Montana’s Outdoors has historically focused on the economic impact of our state’s public lands, and encourages the conversation around the value of our outdoors to expand by bringing local healthcare providers into the conversation both as important economic drivers in Billings and as leaders who can speak with authority on the value of healthy communities across Montana.

This discussion will explore these themes and give our Congressional delegation, and the Billings community, a more robust understanding of the link between LWCF, Montana’s outdoor recreation economy and community health from Billings health and business leaders.

The public is invited and encouraged to come and join the conversation.

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