North Carolina Examines Florida Conservation Model

FLORIDA, 5/22/02: From Pensacola to Key West, Floridians enjoy open, green spaces that might have been developed had it not been for the vision and focus of the legislators and conservation leaders who created Preservation 2000 and its successor, Florida Forever.

Today, another partnership is forming. Legislators from North Carolina have traveled to Tallahassee at the invitation of the Trust for Public Land to meet with the governor and legislative leaders to discover how the state of North Carolina can use Florida’s experience to expand conservation lands for the people of North Carolina.

“It’s not surprising that North Carolina is interested in seeing what Florida has done and learning from our experience,” said Kathy Baughman, regional government affairs director for the Trust for Public Land. “Many of our citizens already have homes in the North Carolina mountains and many North Carolinians spend time at the Florida beaches – so, it is perfectly natural that exchanging information on how to conserve land would be a subject dear to the hearts of citizens from both states.”

The two states also share the circumstances brought about by intense growth. Florida has long been one of the fastest growing states in the nation. At present North Carolina ranks #4 in the nation in growth, after Florida, California, and Texas.

The legislative leadership from both states will sit down today to share ideas and create a road map for North Carolina to use. The goal is to pattern the North Carolina plan after Florida Forever, the successor to Preservation 2000.

Florida Governor Jeb Bush as well as Senate and House leadership will meet with the North Carolina officials in an effort to help North Carolina develop the program without “reinventing the wheel”.

“We can learn much from Florida’s experience and great track record,” said Sen. Fountain Odom (D-Charlotte). “North Carolina can only benefit from our visit to Tallahassee and we are excited about this partnership with Florida and the Trust for Public Land.”

Taking part in the Florida Forever tour were (left to right in the photo) DG Martin, Director of TPL’s Carolinas Program; Angie MacMillan, government relations director for The Nature Conservancy in North Carolina; Kathy Baughman, TPL’s government affairs director for the southeast region; NC Rep. Gordon Allen; Rolf Blizzard, aide to NC Sen. Marc Basnight; NC Sen. Fountain Odom; NC Rep. Pryor Gibson; NC Rep. Joe Hackney; David Knight, TPL government affairs representative in North Carolina; and NC Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight.