Despite the nation's fiscal woes, Americans demonstrated on Nov. 4th that they will dig into their pockets to create parks and conserve open space. "Whether Democrat or Republican, voters seem to be of similar minds on one issue: conservation," said Will Rogers, president of The Trust for Public Land.
At the polls, voters approved funding for
62 of 87 conservation measures, generating a single-day record of $7.3 billion in new conservation funding. These results capped a record-breaking year, in which voters said "yes" to measures totaling nearly $8.4 billion in new public funding for land conservation. According to Rogers, "the results from 2008 continue a strong trend: people want to preserve land in their communities, and they are willing to pay for it."
"Voters understand the need to invest to preserve our land and water resources for future generations and that's just what these ballot measures will provide funding to do," said Ernest Cook, director of conservation finance with The Trust for Public Land.
One of the the measures approved was Minnesota's $5.5 billion Clean Water, Land and Legacy constitutional amendment -- the nation's largest ever state or local conservation funding measure.
Among the other significant conservation initiatives approved were:
* East Bay Regional Park District, California: a $500 million bond measure received 71 percent support
* Hillsborough County, Florida: a $200 million bond measure received 79 percent support
* Hunterdon County, New Jersey: An extension of the county's 3-cent property tax for 20 years will generate $152 million
* Community Preservation Act, Massachusetts: 7 of 8 measures approved, bringing the total of communities statewide that have adopted CPA to 140
* Blaine County, Idaho: a two-year property tax for open space will establish the first county conservation program in the state
* Johnson County, Iowa: a $20 million bond will establish Iowa's first county conservation program
The Trust for Public Land, and its lobbying affiliate the Conservation Campaign, played an integral role in the success story.
Click here to see a complete list of results from local and state balloting on conservation and parks.
Click here to access the Trust for Public Land homepage.