Andrew Black, National Wildlife Federation public lands field director, interviewed veteran and outdoorsman Eric Gonzales about how public lands protected by the Land and Water Conservation Fund have given him a "great sense of peace, healing, & wholeness". Q: What does the Land & Water Conservation Fund and public lands mean to you?
Eric: “As Americans, there are many things we can be proud of when it comes to who we are as a nation. One of the great benefits of our country is the incredible access to our nation’s public lands. Many people don’t realize that the Land and Water Conservation Fund is one of America’s most successful programs and provides funding for outdoor recreation through increased access and opportunity on America’s public lands, supports local parks and trails, restores rivers and watersheds, and protects key wildlife areas. As veterans we share a strong connection to the outdoors and we fought not only to protect our communities, but also access to our public lands that serve as places of healing, peace, and recovery. The Land and Water Conservation Fund not only helps provide essential access to the lands I regularly hunt and fish, but also funds many of our nation’s historic battlefields, including revolutionary and civil war battlefields, the 9/11 Flight 93 memorial in Pennsylvania and Fort Union in my home state. Unfortunately, on September 30, Congress let this fund expire, which is a tragic mistake that will have serious impacts on our communities, sportsmen, and our nation’s veterans.” #veteransday #publiclands #veterans #LWCF #elk #colorado