Americans Approve $2.9 Billion for Open Space

WASHINGTON DC: On November 5, 2002, voters in 94 communities in 23 states approved conservation ballot measures that contained approximately $2.9 billion to acquire and restore land for parks and open space, according to the Trust for Public Land (TPL) and the Land Trust Alliance (LTA).

The 94 successful measures were among a total of 111 conservation measures considered on state and local ballots across the United States on November 5. The resulting rate of passage – approximately 85% — represents an increase from 75% on election day November 2001.

For 2002 in its entirety (November 5 and elections earlier in the year), a total of 74% of all conservation and conservation-related ballot measures (139 of 187) were passed by local and state voters. These 139 successful measures generated a total of $5.7 billion in local and state funding for land protection this year. (* See the note below on LandVote 2002 methodology)

$2.9 billion was a portion of overall $6.9 billion approved by voters for all measures

The 94 measures passed on November 5 yielded a grand total of approximately $6.9 billion for all conservation and conservation-related purposes, including land acquisition and restoration. For all of 2002, the 139 successful measures generated a grand total of approximately $10 billion in conservation and conservation-related funding.

“Protecting the American landscape for all time … Today.”

“2002 is another year of very strong voter support for open space protection across the country,” said Will Rogers, President of TPL. “At a time when the threshold for government spending and borrowing is rising, Americans continue to demonstrate that they will pay to protect the places that are special to them.”

“Voters in a bipartisan manner have again voiced their strong support for protection of natural lands, clean water, and safe communities,” said LTA President Rand Wentworth. “They understand that we are losing two million acres each year, and they have shown their concern that the lands we protect today will affect the American landscape for all time.”

The largest measures passed on November 5 include three statewide measures:

State$$$ for Open Space Total $ in Measure % in Favor% Against
California Proposition 50$1.5 billion$3.4 billion5545
Nevada Question 1$89.5 million$200 million5941
Nevada Question 2$36.5 million$119 million6931

The largest local measures in each region of the country include:

LocationEstimated Open Space $ in Measure Total $ in Measure*% in Favor% Against
Southampton NY$200 million$200 million7030
East Hampton NY$95 million$95 million6931
Brookhaven NY$20 million$20 million7030
Northampton County PA$37 million$37 million6535
Massachusetts 7 of 11 local Community Preservation Act (CPA) measures passed$12 million$37 million6436
Charleston County SC$221.5 million$1.3 billion50.449.6
Collier County FL$63.7 million$75 million5941
Flagler County FL$6.7 million$6.7 million7426
Dakota County MN$20 million$20 million5743
Kendall County IL$5 million$5 million6436
Coconino County AZ$19.8 million$33 million6139
Fort Collins CO$120 million$150 million6535
Eagle County CO $65 million$65 million50.249.8
Maui County, HI$20 million$20 million7327
Lake Oswego OR$4.5 million$9.8 million5743
Kirkland WA$1 million$8.4 million6535

LandVote 2002

A complete list of local and state balloting is available online from LandVote 2002 – – a partnership of TPL and LTA. The results will also be published in a report in early 2003. To obtain a copy, please contact us.

LandVote 2002 Methodology

(*) LandVote 2002 tabulates local and state conservation ballot measures in two ways: 1) funding contained in successful measures that is specifically for land acquisition and restoration, and 2) the total overall funding contained in these measures, including land acquisition and restoration, and all other conservation-related purposes. Both sets of figures result from the fact that many ballot measures contain funding in addition to the funding dedicated specifically for land acquisition and restoration. Both sets of figures document the substantial voter support that exists for conservation and the voters’ willingness to pay for conservation.

Most, but not all, of the measures tabulated by LandVote are bond measures, ballot questions that authorize the use of bonded indebtedness (general obligation bonds) for the purpose of raising government revenue. Other measures tabulated by LandVote include property taxes and sales taxes. The is calculated over the life of the measure. In the case of bonds this is usually 20 or 30 years. When a ballot measure contains no sunset provision, Land Vote estimates its revenue total based a 20-year duration.

TPL, established in 1972, is the only national nonprofit working exclusively to protect land for human enjoyment and well-being. TPL’s Conservation Finance Program provides technical and policy assistance to communities and states that seek to create or expand public for open space protection.

LTA, founded in 1982, promotes voluntary land conservation across the country and provides resources, leadership and training to the nation’s 1,200-plus nonprofit, grassroots land trusts, helping them to protect important open spaces. Visit LTA on the web at

Updated 12/10/02