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People, Places & Parks Thought Leader Uncategorized

On November 6, You Can Bring Georgia Together

Photo above: Vote Yes on 1 to protect Georgia’s lands and waters for future generations. Photo © Georgia Department of Economic Development

By Deron Davis, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy in Georgia

In our increasingly complex world, too often divided by partisan politics, it is rare to find an issue that brings people together no matter where they live – small towns, bustling suburbs or big cities. The conservation of our land and water is one such issue. Public polls have made it clear that the citizens of Georgia overwhelmingly believe our state should protect the lands critical to clean drinking water; acquire and improve parks and trails for children, families and outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy; and, maintain and improve access to wildlife management areas and create new opportunities for hiking, hunting and fishing.

On election day, November 6, you have a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to honor the beautiful natural areas that make our state special — your favorite neighborhood greenspace, mountain view or coastal retreat — AND leave a legacy for the younger generations who will inherit Georgia. Vote YES on 1!If passed, Amendment 1, the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Amendment, will establish a water and land conservation fund by dedicating a portion of EXISTING sales and use tax on sporting goods–items used for bird watching, camping, hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities.

The fund would provide approximately $200 million over ten years for the state to invest in the creation and stewardship of greenspaces throughout Georgia. The amendment protects these funds from being used for any other purpose and subjects them to strict accountability measures including full public disclosure of all expenditures. Every “yes” vote on Amendment 1 moves Georgia one step closer to protecting clean drinking water supplies and wildlife habitats, acquiring and improving public parks and trails, and maintaining state wildlife management areas and parks on a historic scale–without creating any new taxes or fees. The fund would be administered by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources with oversight by a committee appointed by the governor and legislature.

Land and water resources provide significant economic benefits to the people, businesses and communities of Georgia. Industries including outdoor recreation, tourism, agriculture, defense and forestry depend on conserved land and water for economic viability. Our natural assets create jobs. In fact, according to the Outdoor Industry Association, the outdoor recreation industry alone creates 238,000 jobs across the state and $8.1 billion in wages and salaries.

Most Georgians would see the impact of a land and water fund when they visit a state park like Amicalola in Dawsonville or a wildlife management area such as Altama in Brunswick, where additional resources could mean improvements to trails and facilities. They also would see it right here in metro Atlanta with the creation of new parks and trails.

As a native Georgian, parent of two and avid conservationist, I am excited that voters have this historic opportunity come together and ensure the protection our lands and waters for future generations. Please Vote Yes on 1 on November 6! For more information visit the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Amendment website.

The Nature Conservancy paid for this space on behalf of the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Coalition campaign committee, Robert Ramsay, Treasurer.

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