Californians Invest in Open Space

San Francisco, 3/7/02 – On March 5, California voters passed overwhelmingly the historic $2.6 billion “Clean Water, Clean Air, Safe Neighborhood Parks and Coastal Protection” bond measure to protect important open spaces throughout the state (Proposition 40).

More than 56% of those residents voting approved the bond, one of the largest conservation funding measures ever passed by a state.

“The results in California this week make clear that Americans care very deeply about parks, playgrounds, forests, farmland, and water quality – and that they are willing to pay to protect them,” said Will Rogers, President of the Trust for Public Land (TPL).

“Proposition 40 was supported by a strong coalition of conservation, parks, preservation, business, labor, community, and other California interests,” stated Rogers. “The Trust for Public Land extends strong congratulations to all who assisted to make passage of Proposition 40 a reality – and to all California voters who backed this historic effort.”

“Californians have made a lasting impact to protect the precious natural resources of our state,” said Fred Keeley (D-Santa Cruz), Assembly Speaker pro Tem and author of Proposition 40.

Proposition 40 will fund many priority conservation needs, including:

  • local parks ($832 million)
  • state conservancies ($445 million)
  • water resources protection ($375 million)
  • wildlife conservation ($300 million)
  • historical and cultural resources ($267 million), and
  • working farmland ($75 million).

For details and background on Proposition 40, please consult (Tuesday’s election results) (the Prop 40 campaign).

The passage of Proposition 40 in California comes on the heels of strong support for open space funding around the country in 2001. On Election Day 2001, voters in 17 states approved state and local ballot measures, providing $1.2 billion to protect recreational lands, water supplies, working farms, and other open space.

Throughout 2001, local voters passed a total of 137 measures, creating $1.7 billion locally to protect open space – 70 percent of all such measures on the ballot passed. For example, open space measures were passed in places including: Boise, Idaho; Morris County, NJ; Orange County, NC; Houston, Texas; McHenry County, Ill.; Douglas County, Colo.; Greene County, Missouri; DeKalb County, Georgia, and hundreds of others. TPL’s Conservation Finance program assists states and communities in designing conservation ballot measures and in gaining voter approval for measures.

Details on past elections are also available through LandVote 2001 available on the web at or (LandVote 2001details recent trends in national conservation finance and is sponsored by TPL and the Land Trust Alliance).

The Trust for Public Land, established in 1972, specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law, to protect land for people to enjoy as parks, greenways, community gardens, urban playgrounds, and wilderness. Across the nation, TPL has helped protect more than one million acres, valued at $2 billion.