Historically, Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley has been characterized by dairy barns and blast furnaces, but in recent years it has been transformed by suburban sprawl and traffic congestion. In 2002, voters responded to the effects of rapid growth on the rural character of the region by passing two bond campaigns for open space and land conservation. In May 2003, Lehigh County approved a $30 million bond to protect watersheds, wetland, farmlands, and parks. And in November, 65 percent of Northampton County voters passed the $37 million Open Space Referendum. TPL provided technical assistance to the counties with the research and design of the measures and, separately, aided in public education and outreach efforts.
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Since 1972, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than 3 million acres and completed more than 5,200 park and conservation projects.