WASHINGTON — Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) released the following statements after their legislation to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) passed the Senate. Shaheen and Hassan recently introduced bipartisan legislation to permanently reauthorize LWCF, which helps preserve and maintain critical lands for national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and recreational areas in all 50 states and nearly every congressional district at no cost to American taxpayers. The U.S. outdoor recreation economy generates roughly $900 billion in annual economic activity and supports 7.6 million jobs, all of which benefits from investments by LWCF. The bill passed the Senate along with Shaheen and Hassan’s legislation to protect the Nashua River and its tributaries and redesignate Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site as a “National Historical Park.”
“I am very pleased to see the Senate pass these pieces of legislation that will protect New Hampshire’s environment,” said Shaheen. “Permanently reauthorizing LWCF will bolster our outdoor economy and help preserve the sites we treasure most in New Hampshire, including the White Mountain National Forest, and protecting the Nashua River’s waters, wildlife, and natural resources will support communities across the region. Saint-Gaudens bridges the connection between natural beauty and art with its historic architecture, American art, landscapes and trails, and re-designating the site as a National Historical Park will more appropriately reflect its purpose. I will always support efforts that safeguard New Hampshire’s historical significance and natural beauty.”
“From permanently reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund to enhancing efforts to conserve the Nashua River and its tributaries, this bipartisan legislation takes critical steps to protect the beautiful natural resources that define us as a state,” said Hassan. “I’m also thrilled that this bill gives Saint-Gaudens the recognition and distinction that comes with the title of national historic park. I will keep working with Shaheen and our colleagues across the aisle to protect our environment and high-quality of life in the Granite State.”
Shaheen has led efforts to help secure full funding and permanent authorization for LWCF, which Hassan has supported, to help protect more than 2.5 million acres of land and support tens of thousands of state and local outdoor recreation projects throughout the nation. Through several grant programs, the fund helps clean up wildlife areas, procure easements to improve public lands access for Americans, safeguard historic sites and battlefields, and much more.
Shaheen and Hassan introduced legislation in the Senate to designate portions of the Nashua, Squannacook, and Nissitissit Rivers in New Hampshire and Massachusetts as scenic rivers under the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. This legislation is a companion to a bill introduced by Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02) in the House of Representatives, and follows up on the recommendations of a study commissioned by Congress in 2014 that assessed the potential inclusion of these rivers in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
Authorized by Congress in 1964, the Saint-Gaudens site preserves the home and artwork of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the foremost American sculptor of the late 19th century. The New Hampshire delegation introduced legislation to redesignate the site as a national historical park to bolster its visibility in the Cornish community and across New Hampshire. In the past decade, the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site has expanded to include multiple historic buildings, a vast collection of American art, a variety of arts-related activities, landscapes and trails. During his career, Saint-Gaudens created over 150 works of art, many of them commemorating heroes of the Civil War, including the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial in Boston and the Standing and Seated Abraham Lincoln monuments in Chicago.