Voters Approve $448 Million For Conservation

SAN FRANCISCO 11/4/2009: Voters in 11 states across the nation approved spending more than $448 million to protect open space, The Trust for Public Land announced today.

Of the 25 measures on the ballot yesterday, 16 passed, for an approval rate of 64 percent. The largest was a $400 million statewide bond in New Jersey. The other 24 measures were local elections.

“Yesterday’s results were remarkable because despite the difficult economy we’re all facing, voters said protecting open space is still very important to us,” said Ernest Cook, Director of TPL’s Conservation Finance program, which helps local communities enact public funding measures.

“At the same time, we are not surprised by the results because for 20 years we’ve seen voters choose to spend money for open space,” Cook said. “This has been true areas across the country, whether voters are conservative, liberal or decline to state, and it has been true no matter whether the economy was in good shape or bad. The bottom line is that open space is important to voters.”

New Jersey voters passed the $400 million “Green Acres” bond by 52-48, continuing a trend of almost 50 years. In 11 previous statewide votes dating back to 1961, New Jersey voters had approved open space funding. The money has been used for a variety of conservation projects, including land for recreation and conservation, preservation of farmland, creation of city parks, and historic projects.

In another significant vote Tuesday, voters in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta, Ga., approved a $25 million package which includes $5 million for parks, recreation and trails. This comes on the heels of Cobb County voters’ overwhelming approval of two $40 million open space bonds in 2006 and 2008.

Since 1996, TPL’s Conservation Finance program has helped communities pass more than 400 local and state ballot measures which have generated more than $82 billion in new conservation-related funding, including more than $32 billion for land acquisition and restoration.

Past results are available at

The Trust for Public Land is a national non-profit land conservation organization which conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since it was funded in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 2.8 million acres in 46 states. TPL depends on the support of individuals, foundations, and corporations.