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Interior announces $1.6M for parks and outdoor recreation in territories

WASHINGTON (Press Release) — U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced that $1.6 million will be distributed to the U.S. insular territories for outdoor recreation and conservation projects from the Land and Water Conservation Fund or LWCF, which is funded through offshore oil and gas leasing.

American Samoa will get $75,045; Guam, $75,130; Northern Marianas, $75,044; U.S. Virgin Islands, $75,087; and Puerto Rico, $1,308,821.

Ryan ZinkeRyan Zinke

The territorial funding is part of $94.3 million distributed across all 50 states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. These funds are 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 grant program has been a resounding success that makes physical investments in our communities,” Secretary Zinke said. “From the U.S. mainland to all our territories, the program benefits citizens across the nation by helping state and territorial governments make infrastructure investments in urban, suburban, and rural parks. By advancing the Administration’s offshore energy goals, we will be able to generate more revenue for the fund to improve conservation and recreation opportunities for generations to come.”

“Each territory has its own selection criteria on how the funds will be used,” said Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Doug Domenech. “Discretion is left to the governors of each territory to determine how funds will be used locally based on their own particular needs and unique opportunities.”

Funds are distributed through the offices of the governors of the territories to support the local park system.

The LWCF was established by Congress in 1965 to ensure access to outdoor recreation resources for present and future generations. The funds enable state and local governments to improve existing parks and other recreation areas in their communities through rehabilitation and upgrade projects. These funds are also used to create new parks in places that have none and to develop and expand trail systems that link communities and add recreation opportunities.

Since the inception of the LWCF, more than $4.1 billion has been made available to state and local governments to fund more than 42,000 projects throughout the nation.

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