Created by Congress in 1964, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is a commitment to safeguard natural areas, water resources and our cultural heritage, and to provide quality recreational opportunities to all Americans. National parks like the Great Smoky Mountains and the Grand Canyon, rivers and lakes, community parks, trails, and ball fields in all 50 states have been set aside for residents to enjoy thanks to these federal funds. Over the years, some of Buncombe County’s most popular public parks have been developed or acquired through the LWCF including Charles D. Owen in Swannanoa and Lake Julian in Arden.
Funding in recent years has been sporadic, but the important conservation and recreation program was permanently reauthorized earlier this year in an overwhelming show of bipartisan support by Congress and President Donald J. Trump. The North Carolina Department of Parks and Recreation anticipates receiving between $2 million-$4 million for local LWCF project in the next appropriation – and you can lend your voice on how these federal funds should be invested in our state!
From May 31-July 1, North Carolina residents may submit public comments on North Carolina’s Local Open Project Selection process online.
There are over 900 LWCF projects in the state including 700 local government projects completed before 2000. The grants have supported 16 projects in Buncombe County, the last being the City of Asheville’s French Broad River Park and Town of Black Mountain’s Douglas M. Brock Park (now Veterans Park and River Trail Loop), both in 1991. Buncombe County Recreation Services last received funding through the program for North Buncombe Sports Fields in 1985.
Submit comments by Monday, July 1.
LWCF Grant Projects in Buncombe County
- 1968: Lake Julian Park, Buncombe County
- 1969: Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, City of Asheville
- 1970: Recreation Park & Swimming Pool, Buncombe County (now a City of Asheville facility)
- 1971: Hominy Valley Recreation Park, Buncombe County
- 1974: Charles D. Owen Park, Buncombe County
- 1975: North Buncombe District Park, Buncombe County
- 1975: Montford Recreation Complex
- 1978: Youth Center Park, Town of Black Mountain
- 1979: Parts of Azelea Park, JBL Soccer Fields, Recreation Park, and WNC Nature Center; Buncombe County and City of Asheville (now all City of Asheville facilities)
- 1983: Lake Tomahawk Redevelopment, Town of Black Mountain
- 1985: North Buncombe District Park Expansion, Buncombe County
- 1986: Lake Louise Community Park, Town of Weaverville
- 1987: Lake Tomahawk Expansion, Town of Black Mountain
- 1991: French Broad River Park, City of Asheville
- 1991: Douglas M. Brock Par, Town of Black Mountain