CHELMSFORD, MASS. – Today, National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis joined Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Undersecretary of Environment Martin Suuberg, Massachusetts State Park Director Priscilla Geigis, Chair of the Town of Chelmsford Board of Selectmen Patricia Wojtas, and other state and local officials to visit Varney Playground in the Town of Chelmsford, Massachusetts for a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which supports local conservation, outdoor recreation and clean water projects across the country.
In June, Chelmsford received a $248,352 Land and Water Conservation fund grant to fund renovations of Varney Playground, to include new ADA-compliant walkways, creation of a nature trail, exterior and interior renovations to the field/bath house, a new boat dock and construction of a relocated basketball court.
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund empowers communities to fulfill their visions for recreation and conservation locally,” said Jarvis. “With the renovations funded by the Fund, Varney Playground will allow more families and children to get outdoors to play and learn about the natural world around them.”
Since states match funds awarded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, over the past 50 years, Massachusetts has leveraged more than $100 million to help create, develop and improve conservation and recreation sites across the commonwealth. This year, Massachusetts will receive more than $900,000 from the Fund.
President Obama has called for full, permanent funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund in his proposed budget, recognizing it as one of the nation’s most effective tools for protecting important water sources, expanding access for hunting and fishing, preserving historic battlefields, and creating ball fields and other places for kids to play and learn.
Since its establishment in 1964, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has conserved land in every state and supported tens of thousands of state and local projects. The fund does not use taxpayer dollars; the primary source of income derives from fees paid by oil and gas companies drilling offshore in waters owned by the American people. The program has only been fully funded once in its 50-year history and is at risk of expiring without action from Congress.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook , Twitter , and YouTube www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.