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Angela DeCenzo

Vote for the future you want to see

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Our work to create great public spaces is rooted in a belief that every person deserves an equal say in the future of their community. For almost 50 years, we’ve been bringing diverse people and perspectives together to make shared decisions about their local parks, trails, schoolyards, and open spaces—and I never stop marveling at the lasting transformations that result. 

mt_StoryMill_June 2019_ZakaraPhotography_1Bozeman's Story Mill Community Park was funded in part by $4.5 million from the voter-approved 2012 Bozeman Parks & Trails bond measure. Photo credit: Zakara Photography

As Americans head to the polls, I’m taking heart in the community-powered change I’ve witnessed through our work, and placing my hope in the enduring legacy of our democratic process. This year, the stakes feel particularly high. At The Trust for Public Land, we’ve stood alongside members of communities we serve, local partners, and our own staff and families as the nation has grappled with the devastating toll of a pandemic, climate change, and racial injustice. 

Parks are essential to building healthier, more equitable, more resilient communities. They are key components of our public health infrastructure, especially during a pandemic, relieving stress and anxiety and improving physical health. Parks protect people from climate threats like heat waves and floods. And they’re places where people come together to celebrate, grieve, and demonstrate for lasting social change. 

il_606opening_06062015_158.JPGThe 606 Park and Trail in ChicagoPhoto credit: Adam Alexander

In an election season with so much on the line, it’s never been more important to speak up for the future you want to see. Over the coming week, millions of voters will have the opportunity to approve ballot measures that would generate new public funding for parks and open spaces. Our conservation finance experts are helping organize campaigns for 26 measures, with $2.9 billion in future public funding on the line. 

Voters of all political persuasions, from dense urban areas to remote rural regions, overwhelmingly back campaigns to create and protect public space in their own communities: to date, ballot measures supported by The Trust for Public Land and The Trust for Public Land Action Fund have enjoyed an 82 percent success rate at the polls, and generated nearly $80 billion in public funding for parks, trails, wildlife, farmland, clean water, and open spaces. 

A view of a misty valleyWe helped protect a Girl Scout camp in southeast Minnesota, transforming the land into a new public Wildlife Management Area. The project was funded in part by the Outdoor Heritage Fund, created by Minnesota voters in 2008. Photo credit: Andy Richter

These important measures succeed because everyday people get involved, get organized to make the change they believe in, and show up at the polls. This year, we’re making Election Day a paid holiday for Trust for Public Land staff—to make it that much easier for our team members to cast their vote, or to pitch in and help get out the vote in their own communities.   

The only way to take on the serious challenges we face as a society is by coming together and fighting for solutions that take every member of our communities into account. That’s why it’s never been more important to exercise your right to vote—and to make sure that every vote counts.  

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