Perhaps you’ve heard the exciting news: today one of the largest public lands bills in recent history was signed, including permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). With one more signature from President Trump, this historic package, which protects nearly 2.5 million acres of public land and 676 miles of rivers throughout the US, will pass.
This bipartisan show of support for conservation and public access to land is something to celebrate, and so we want to give you a quick look into why the Land and Water Conservation Fund is so near and dear to our hearts. Starting with the word “near.”
Close-to-Home Is Where It’s At
Sure, we all sit around the campfire and swap stories of that epic skiing trip in Japan or the misadventures we had while thru-hiking the PCT. But let’s be honest: a lot of days we’re waking up in our own beds, balancing life’s responsibilities, and living pretty darned pedestrian lives.
It’s in these lives where we grasp at those slivers of play – we tuck fun into a lunchtime mountain bike ride, an after-work trail run, a morning surf session, or a weekend camping getaway with the family. We squeeze the spirit of our most epic adventures – the exhilaration of heart-pounding moments and the camaraderie of good fun – into little exploits close to home. And this is where LWCF comes in, brilliant in its support of local recreation opportunities throughout the United States.
While LWCF funds contribute to some of our nation’s most iconic and treasured places, they also fund local recreation areas, trails, waterways, parks, wildlife refuges, historic battlefields, cultural sites, working forests, watersheds, and ranches. In fact, over 50 years, LWCF has supported more than 41,000 state and local projects in every single state. Chances are you’ve enjoyed an LWCF funded property this year and didn’t even know it.
Our Favorite LWCF-Funded Adventures in New Hampshire
It’s clear there’s a lot to love about the Land and Water Conservation Fund. But to bring it “close-to-home” for us, here are a few of our personal favorite LWCF-funded activities.
1. Kaitlyn: Bouldering at Pawtuckaway State Park
Kaitlyn and her fiancé Kendall spend time fat biking at Pawtuckaway.
Kaitlyn, our bookkeeper shares:
On a few occasions we’ve headed out to Pawtuckaway State Park to boulder after work, even climbing into the dark with headlamps, which was an exhilarating experience. One fall Saturday, a few seasoned NEMO climbers taught some top-roping on some of the well-known crack climbs in the park. It was such a fun day of firsts and team-building as we pushed and supported each other.
My first outdoor climbing experiences were at Pawtuckaway and I have such positive memories that have encouraged me to continue with the sport. I'm so grateful to have these close-to-home opportunities that are available to all. Check out their climbing routes here.
2. Brent: Mountain Biking at Stratham Hill Park
View from the top of the Fire Tower at Stratham Hill Park.
Brent, our Chief Operating Officer shares:
I’ve been hiking, running, and mountain biking at Stratham Hill Park since 2004 when my wife and I moved to the Seacoast from Vermont. It’s such a family-friendly and accessible piece of nature and a go-to spot for pre-work or post-work runs and rides in all seasons.
I have fond memories of climbing the fire tower with my then 2-year old daughter who was undaunted and energized by the challenge. The views from the fire tower can be breathtaking. We’re so thankful for the LWCF that helped fund the conservation of this and several other New Hampshire outdoor recreational treasures, including Pawtuckaway and Bear Brook State Parks.
Brent and Maielle wave from the top.
3. Travis: Walking the Trails in Whitaker Woods
Travis from our Customer Service Team shares:
While I was living in Crawford Notch I would often take day trips to North Conway to see friends and spend time in my favorite coffee shop. After a recommendation from a friend, I began taking my coffee with me on walks on the Whitaker Woods trail system, right off of U.S. Route 302.
While the Whites are often very busy in the summer, I have found Whitaker Woods to be a small pocket of quiet, natural beauty right in the middle of the busy valley town. For that same friend's 30th birthday we spent the morning cross-country skiing on those same trails, tucked away just blocks from the busy shopping strip.
4. Sam: Cross-Country Skiing at Bear Brook State Park
Sam from our Customer Service team shares:
I first discovered Bear Brook State Park last year when I was looking for some local cross-country ski trails. It’s such a great park with awesome trails that are well-maintained and easy to follow. It's been a perfect spot for some cross-country skiing adventures and the trails never get old; I discover a new trail network every time I go. There was a day last year where I ended up skiing 10 miles and there were still plenty of trails to discover! Bear Brook is the perfect getaway — it isn't as far as the Whites, yet it's still wild enough to fulfill my need for some adventurous outside time.
5. Joe: Living the Great Bay Life
Joe, our manager of Sales and Operations Planning shares:
Any free time I have — spring, summer, or fall — I can generally be found swimming, fishing, adventuring, or relaxing on Great Bay. Protecting the bay's surrounding shore line, natural wildlife, and water quality in this area keeps this space natural, clean, and wild — allowing for many more memories and adventures for generations to come.
6. Randy: Exploring the Waters at Odiorne Point State Park
Randy and his wife Sarah follow along as Olive searches every tide pool.
Randy, our Marketing Content Manager shares:
Odiorne Point State Park has long been a special place of discovery and free-range exploration for my family. Both of our children have learned to enjoy the anticipation of what might be in the next tide pool as you climb from one slippery rock to the next. Their feet have felt the squishy, wet seaweed and “pokey” barnacles growing on the rocks as they smelled the salty air and watched sea ducks fly by — just skimming over the waves.
7. Kate: Biking the Oyster River Forest Trail Network
The owl Kate encountered on her bike ride through Oyster River trails.
Kate, our VP of Marketing Shares:
Between work and family, my chances to get out and enjoy recreation have to either be strategically planned in between activities and deadlines, or stolen with a moment's notice. A free 45 minutes can turn into a trail run or bike ride if you keep your sneakers within reach at all times.
This past summer I spent a lot of early mornings, before the kids were up, on the nearby Oyster River trail system. My most memorable moment: I was winding through the woods on my bike when an owl flew right in front of me, seemingly within a foot or two. I braked hard, then stopped to see where it perched in a nearby tree.
We locked eyes and just sat together in the quiet woods – the only sound being my panting as I caught my breath – for several minutes. Eventually, the owl flew away and I continued on my way, but it added a dose of magic to my day in a way that only nature can.
To find out if your favorite local recreation area is one of the 41,000 that has received LWCF funds you can search this database. Learn more about LWCF from the National Park Service, or track the progress of LWCF’s funding from the Outdoor Industry Association.