CO Voters Approve $205M for Open Space

Nov. 7, 2001 – Colorado voters yesterday gave overwhelming support to open space protection as they approved eight local referenda and one statewide ballot question that committed a total of approximately $205 million in new funding for parks and open space, according to the Trust for Public Land (TPL). Of the 12 land protection ballot measures on Tuesday’s ballot, only 3 failed get voter support. (See attached list for referenda results in Colorado.)

The approval rate was much the same nationwide yesterday as voters in 13 states approved more than $678 million in new funding for parks and open space. Of 88 local or state ballot questions tabulated nationwide so far by TPL and LTA, voters approved 65 referenda, a passage rate of 73 percent. In Colorado, the percentage was 75%.

“What was really impressive about this year’s election were the margins many of the ballot measures passed by,” said Adam Eichberg, Western Region Conservation Finance Director for the Trust for Public Land. “We were worried that voters would vote down any new land protection funding in this time of financial uncertainty,” Eichberg went on to explain. “But obviously land protection is still a very important concern for citizens of Colorado.”

The $115 million approved in Colorado for the state’s Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) program was among the nation’s largest programs approved. So was the $43 million bond issue approved in Douglas County, CO, for open space acquisition and preservation, approved by 74 percent of the voters.

All told, more than 1.2 million individuals cast votes in favor of increased open space funding in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington. Among the largest successful measures, in addition to those in Colorado, were:

  • $200 million in Morris County NJ for open space, recreation, and farmland preservation
  • $80 million in Houston, TX
  • $60 million in Harris County, TX
  • $50 million in Old Bridge Township, NJ
  • $20 million in Orange County, NC

Complete open space election results are available through LandVote 2001, an online service of the LTA and TPL, which is accessible through either, or

“Americans continue to support public land conservation to a dramatic extent,” said Will Rogers, President of TPL. “Voters across the country are eager to protect the unique landscapes of their communities.”

Yesterday’s results came on top of the approximately 80 successful ballot measures that passed earlier this year, which created an additional $258 million in new funding for parks and open space. Thus, all of the 145 successful open space ballot measures in 2001 have generated $936 million in new funding.

Yesterday’s voting compares favorably to the support for open space at the ballot box evidenced in recent years. During the previous three years, 1998-2000, voters approved $17.5 billion in new funding for open space protection and passed a total of 390 measures.

The Trust for Public Land, established in 1972, specializes in conservation real estate and helping communities pass ballot measures to increase funding for land protection. In Colorado, TPL has worked to protect over 65,000 acres since 1980 and has helped communities pass ballot measures creating more than $1 billion in new land conservation funding.