A call for conservation: Images from wild places supported by the Land and Water Conservation Fund | VailDaily.com

A call for conservation: Images from wild places supported by the Land and Water Conservation Fund

Emily Kent
Special to the Daily

As a military spouse for 17 years, I’ve had both the privilege and the duty to live in places all across this country. While constant moving at times caused unrest and upheaval for our family, we were always able to explore and enjoy public lands near our newfound homes together, in every place we lived.

Getting to know the natural environments surrounding us has always served as a powerful connector for us as we learned to call each new place “home for a bit.”

Many of these outdoor spaces are supported by the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which has helped to build and maintain parks, wildlife refuges, hiking trails and waterfront access points in nearly every county in the nation. Earlier this year, Congress permanently reauthorized this important conservation program. Now it needs to keep its promise and fully fund it. 

The Land and Water Conservation Fund was created by Congress in 1964 and is supposed to receive $900 million dollars every year from offshore oil revenues. This money goes toward protection and conservation of our natural areas and waterways. But only twice in its history has the program been fully funded. 

Now more than ever, it is critical that Congress permanently funds it. The Senate will soon take up an important bill that will ensure the Land and Water Conservation Fund will receive its due $900 million in full every year. The parks and outdoor recreation areas that this fund supports have provided my family with endless hours of recreation, wildlife viewing and even helped foster my love of photography. Here are some of my favorite photographs taken at places supported by the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

To join the coalition calling for permanent funds for the LWCF, go to lwcfcoalition.com/get-involved.

Minnesota: Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Emily Kent | Special to the Daily

Several years ago, three women and I embarked on our first canoe/camping trip. Together we learned the ins and outs of portaging, setting up a rain-proof camp and outdoor cooking. This image was taken in the early morning after the rain subsided on Red Rock Lake on our fourth day in the pristine quiet of the Northwoods. 

California: Point Reyes National Seashore

Emily Kent | Special to the Daily

After setting out on a very early morning drive up the coast, I arrived at the majestic Cypress Tree Tunnel just in time to witness the rising sun sending rays of light through the morning coastal fog. I was smitten with the experience and soaked in every minute of it.  

California: Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Emily Kent | Special to the Daily

This park hosts the world’s largest remaining old-growth forest of coastal redwoods. Many of the trees are 1,600 years old and soar more than 300 feet into the sky.

Nebraska: Fort Kearny State Recreation Area

Emily Kent | Special to the Daily

Several years ago I traveled to Nebraska to witness the annual Sandhill Crane migration as almost 500,000 of these magnificent birds made a pit stop along the river, on their way from Canada down into Mexico. As I waited in the viewing blinds for the birds to arrive, the silence was powerful. Soon after, the skies went dark as thousands upon thousands of Sandhill Cranes swooped in overhead. It’s something I will never forget. 

Colorado: Upper Piney Lake Trail in the White River National Forest

Emily Kent | Special to the Daily

It is such a treat to explore our newest home by hiking in the backcountry wilderness of the Gore Range in Colorado. Our kids love hiking and fishing in this pristine forest. 

Emily Kent is a nature photographer who has recently moved to Edwards with her family after her husband finished his 17-year commitment in the United States Air Force.

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