Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks Upon Signing the Land and Water Conservation Fund Bill

September 28, 1976

Secretary Kleppe, distinguished Members of the House and Senate, ladies and gentlemen:

It is really a great privilege and pleasure for me to have the opportunity of welcoming you all to the Rose Garden on this very significant and, I think, historic occasion.

Last month at Yellowstone National Park, I set a national goal of significantly expanding the recreation facilities, national parks, and wildlife sanctuaries as our Bicentennial present to future generations.

Today, with the signing of this legislation to enlarge the Land and Water Conservation Fund, we take the first important step in that direction. Few, if any, Federal programs have provided more or better recreational opportunities than those financed through the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

In the last 12 years, some $2 billion has been channeled through this Fund for the purchase and development of millions of acres of recreation land, where Americans can explore the wonders of nature, take part in a variety of sports facilities and activities, or just relax and get away from it all.

With the increased authorization which this legislation provides, more than 6 million new acres of land will be set aside for recreational purposes over the next 12 years. In addition, this bill will establish an historic preservation fund to provide Federal assistance for the acquisition and preservation of important historic sites throughout America.

As we enter our third century of independence, the American people have taken special pride in the landmarks of our past. This new fund will ensure that Americans who celebrate the Tricentennial will be able to enjoy an even more complete celebration of our Nation's history.

I must say, there are certain procedural requirements in this bill to which I do object and for which I will seek amendments in subsequent legislation. But I wholeheartedly and enthusiastically endorse the basic thrust and the purpose of this legislation to enhance our quality of life, to enrich our treasure of natural beauty, and to preserve it as our heritage to coming generations of America.

Therefore, I congratulate the Members of the House and the Senate who have worked on this legislation and the others who have participated. I am pleased and very proud to have the opportunity of signing this bill into law.

Note: The President spoke at 11:30 a.m. at a ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House. In his opening remarks, he referred to Secretary of the Interior Thomas S. Kleppe.

As enacted, the bill (S. 327) is Public Law 94-422 (90 Stat. 1313).

Gerald R. Ford, Remarks Upon Signing the Land and Water Conservation Fund Bill Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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