Trust for Public Land Helps Advance $1.2 Billion For Parks, Climate and Conservation Approved by Voters Across the Country
TPL Celebrates Resounding Success of 2023 Conservation Measures, Following $8.7 Approved by Voters in 2022
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – In a strong show of support for environment, voters across the nation approved critical ballot measures funding parks and conservation in the November 2023 Election. Trust for Public Land (TPL), a stalwart advocate for conservation and equitable access to the outdoors, is delighted to announce the success of five significant conservation measures in four states, resulting in $1.2 billion in conservation and park funding.
These measures represent a collective effort to safeguard natural areas, protect wildlife habitat, mitigate wildfire risks, enhance park access, and invest in climate resilience. This year’s success at the ballot box follows the 2022 midterm election in which $8.7 billion for parks, climate, and conservation was approved by voters.
“The 2023 state and local conservation funding ballot measures supported by Trust for Public Land will pave the way for more equitable access to parks and protect air and water quality, while addressing climate change, and safeguarding crucial wildlife habitat and natural spaces in communities across the country. This victory underscores the enduring value of the outdoors to the American people and its protection and stewardship,” said Will Abberger, Director of Conservation Finance at Trust for Public Land. “In two years, TPL and our partners across the country have helped to secure over $10 billion for conservation and climate investment. It is clear this work continues to be of paramount importance to the voters.”
As a trusted leader in connecting communities to the benefits of the outdoors and advocating for equitable access to green spaces, TPL actively assisted in designing and advocating for ballot measures in Colorado, Montana, New York, South Carolina, and Texas in November 2023. Altogether, Trust for Public Land worked with local residents on nearly one-quarter of all of the parks and conservation measures on the ballot this year and one-half of the funding. These measures are crucial to ensure that park and conservation efforts receive the funding they need to thrive and protect the environment and access to nature for future generations.
“From Colorado to Texas, to Chatham, New York and Charleston, South Carolina, voters have voiced their resounding support for greater investments in conservation and parks. TPL is very proud to have supported these measures and worked to secure a ‘YES’ vote,” continued Abberger.
Since 1996, Trust for Public Land has played a pivotal role in helping state and local communities throughout the nation raise more than $94 billion in voter-approved public funds. These funds have been dedicated to land protection, the creation of parks and trails, conservation of wildlife habitat, support for working farms and ranches, safeguarding drinking water, and ensuring equitable access to green spaces and climate resiliency.
Here’s an overview of the 2023 conservation measures supported by TPL:
Grand County, CO – in 2016, the Open Lands, Rivers, and Trails Fund was established as part of the approval of a dedicated 10-year, .3 percent sales tax. This November, voters decided to permanently extend the OLRT Program to continue to invest in protecting open space, working farms and ranches, and wildlife habitat. The measure received a 73% Yes vote. Additionally, Grand County has identified wildland fire prevention and mitigation projects and a broader range of water quality protection and trail projects as new needs. The .3 percent sales tax will generate an estimated $67 million over twenty years.
Louisville, CO – This November, voters in the City of Louisville extended and increased the city’s program to acquire, improve, restore, preserve, protect, and maintain open space land by 69%. The measure, which is estimated to generate $38 million over 10 years, will also provide funding to mitigate wildfire risks within open space areas.
Chatham, NY – Following the successful measures in New Paltz in 2020 and Gardiner and Marbletown in 2022, this year Chatham became the first municipality in Columbia County to adopt a new real estate transfer tax to support a local Community Preservation Fund. Approved by 70%, the fund will be used to protect the town’s river and streams, drinking water source, working farms, and wildlife habitat. The 1.5 percent real estate transfer tax would generate an estimated $7.5 million over twenty years.
Charleston, SC – By 80%, voters in Charleston, South Carolina approved a $70 million bond to improve their city’s parks and recreation facilities. The proposal includes projects in each of the city’s twelve Council districts. Based on public input gathered in the city’s 2022 parks master plan, the effort includes new or improved passive parks, playgrounds, sports fields, walking and biking trails, aquatic centers, indoor recreational spaces and courts for tennis, pickleball and basketball.
Proposition 14 – This year Texas is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its state parks system. To mark the centennial, Texas voters statewide approved a state constitutional amendment to create the Centennial Parks Conservation Fund. The measure passed by 77%. The $1 billion fund will help secure new state parks for future generations of Texans to explore and enjoy without increasing taxes. Investing in parks conserves land and water resources, which protects Texas’ quality of life so future generations can enjoy the state’s land, water, and natural beauty.
About Trust for Public Land
Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 4 million acres of public land, created more than 5,364 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised over $94 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected nearly 9.4 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit tpl.org