Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come.
Election Day 2020 was a huge success for our parks and public lands: voters approved nearly $3.7 billion in new funding for land conservation, parks, climate resiliency, and habitat. Voters approved all of the 26 measures supported by Trust for Public Land and Trust for Public Land Action Fund, a resounding sign of the importance of parks and nature for communities across the country.
Get the full results of these campaigns below.
ApprovedMeasure Y: Oakland Unified School District (USD) Bond
The Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) placed a $735 million school bond on the November ballot (Measure Y). The Trust for Public Land has long worked with the district on green–or “living”–schoolyards in Oakland. OUSD has identified green schoolyards as one of the projects that would be funded by the 2020 school bond.ApprovedProposition A: San Francisco’s 2020 Health and Recovery Bond
Proposition A is a $487.5 million bond that includes $239 million dedicated to neighborhood parks projects and a variety of programs that support recreation and open spaces throughout the city. The bond, a response to the economic difficulty caused by the pandemic, will also be used to support efforts to combat homelessness and mental health issues as well as upgrading city infrastructure.
ApprovedMeasure 2A: Denver Climate Sales Tax
If approved by Denver voters, the proposed Denver “climate sales tax” (Measure 2A), a ¼-cent sales tax increase, would generate an estimated $720 million for wide variety of climate-related programs – an unprecedented move for a major city in the U.S. The Denver measure also directly addresses equity issues, mandating that the “funding should maximize investments in communities of color, under resourced communities, and communities most vulnerable to climate change and endeavor to invest 50 of the dedicated funds directly in community with a strong lens toward equity and race and social justice.”ApprovedBallot Issue 7A
Voters within the Colorado River Water Conservation District will see a property tax increase to protect water security in Western Colorado and improve water use and healthy streams (Issue 7A). The District is comprised of 15 West Slope counties in which a majority of the Colorado River Basin exists. The measure could generate about $100 million over two decades.
ApprovedVolusia County Forever and Volusia County ECHO
The Volusia County, Florida, County Council voted to refer two measures to the November ballot: one for the renewal of the Volusia Forever land conservation program and one for the county’s Environmental, Cultural, Historic, and Outdoor Recreation (ECHO) program. If approved by the voters, these two measures would dedicate 1/5th mill property tax increase and provide $100 million in new bonding authority.ApprovedManatee County Land Acquisition Referendum
The Manatee County, Florida, Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to refer a 0.15 mill property tax increase and $50 million bond for the acquisition, improvement, and management of land to protect water quality, preserve fish and wildlife habitat, and provide parks. The measure would generate $108 million over the next two decades and would be the first program of its kind for the county.
ApprovedCommunity Preservation Fund
Voters in the Town of New Paltz, New York, will have the opportunity to be the first municipality in Ulster County to increase the real estate transfer tax to support a local Community Preservation Fund. The fund will be used to protect rivers, lakes, streams, drinking water sources, working farms, and wildlife habitat. The measure could generate over $3.5 million over 20 years.
ApprovedCommunity Preservation Act
Nine communities in Massachusetts will be voting on the Community Preservation Act (CPA) in November. CPA is a state program that allows communities to establish a local fund dedicated to open space, outdoor recreation, historic preservation, and affordable housing. This revenue is raised locally through the imposition of a property tax surcharge of not more than 3 percent, supplemented by annual distributions of matching funds from the statewide Community Preservation Trust Fund.
Since CPA was signed into law 20 years ago, 177 municipalities in the state have adopted the program by ballot referendum, raising a total of $2.35 billion for local community preservation projects. Three cities (Framingham, Franklin, and Greenfield) and six towns (Hopedale, Lancaster, Lee, Milton, Shrewsbury, and Whitman) will decide whether or not to adopt CPA in November; should all of these measures pass, it would generate $4.9 million each year to fund local open space protection, the creation and rehabilitation of parks, playgrounds, trails and athletic fields, preservation of historic resources, and support for affordable housing.
ApprovedTraverse City and Garfield Township Recreation Authority Levy
The Recreational Authority of Traverse City and Garfield Township, Michigan, have placed a 20-year property tax renewal originally passed in 2004 with support from the Trust for Public Land. The fund will assist with the purchase of 80 acres of forest and woodland, expanding public natural areas for passive recreational use. The measure will generate close to $13 million.ApprovedAmendment 20-1
A statewide Constitutional Amendment in Michigan (Constitutional Amendment 20-1) will lift the cap on how much the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund can take in. Created in 1976, the fund uses royalties from the oil, gas, and mining industries to create and protect state parks and other natural resources.
ApprovedInitiative I-190: Montana Marijuana Tax
A statewide measure to legalize and place a sales tax on recreational marijuana has reached the ballot in Montana via the initiative petition process (voter-gathered signatures). The measure allocates 50 percent of the tax proceeds to land conservation. The measure is projected to provide $360 million over twenty years for land conservation in Montana.
Voters in Ottawa County, Ohio, located on Lake Erie, could establish their park district’s first dedicated funding source through a 10-year, 0.6 mill property tax increase (Issue 14). The fund will be used to creating hiking and biking trails, protect the water quality of Lake Erie, and fund other capital improvements, operations, and maintenance. $11 million could be created over the coming decade.
ApprovedMeasure 26-213: Recreation and Parks Levy
The Portland, Oregon, City Council voted to refer a five-year parks and recreation local property tax levy to the November ballot. The proposed levy (Measure 26-213) will generate $293 million to restore investments in parks, natural areas, and services and will dramatically increase access to recreation opportunities for communities of color, refugees and immigrants, and families experiencing poverty.
Located in the Texas Hill Country, Hays County voters will see a $75 million open space bond on the November ballot (Proposition A). The measure will fund land protection for recreational or open-space use, protect wildlife habitat and water quality of creeks, rivers, and springs; and protect natural resources by minimizing flood risks and improving flood safety.
At Trust for Public Land, we help communities write, campaign for, and pass ballot measures that create new public funds for parks and land conservation. We supported 18 ballot measures on Election Day 2018, and voters approved 17.
Click on a state to see the results.
Proposition 407: Parks and Connections Bond 2018
The City of Tucson is asking voters to consider approving a $225 million general obligation bond for capital improvements. If approved, the measure will create a dedicated funding source for playgrounds, sports fields, pools and splashpads, recreation centers, and bike and pedestrian paths. We urge Tucson voters to vote YES on Proposition 407 this November.
Sonoma County is asking voters to consider approving over $115 million to improve and protect Sonoma County’s regional and neighborhood parks. The measure will appear on the November 6 ballot as Measure M and will need a supermajority for approval.
The sales tax funding will help safeguard water supplies, streams, and rivers; reduce future wildfire risk; preserve fish and wildlife habitat; conserve natural areas for future generations; support community health and expand walking, hiking, and biking trails. If passed, two-thirds of the funds raised would go to county parks and one-third would go to cities for our neighborhood parks.
https://www.sonomacountyparksforall.orgMeasure P: Approval of Fresno Safe and Clean Neighborhood Parks Tax Ordinance
The City of Fresno is asking voters to consider approving over $1.1 billion to update and improve Fresno’s current parks, trails and facilities, make parks cleaner and safer, and create parks in neighborhoods that lack access to them. The measure will appear on the November 6 ballot as Measure P and will need a supermajority for approval.
The measure was place on the ballot via citizen initiative. Annual sales tax funds would provide for the following:
- $17.2 million for improving conditions at current parks and community centers
- $8 million for building new parks, community centers and senior centers
- $4.25 million for safe walking and biking trails, the San Joaquin River Parkway, and landscape beautification along major streets and freeways
- $4.5 million for arts and cultural programs
- $3.2 million for recreational programs for youth and seniors, including job training for youth and veterans to work in the parks and recreation field
- $287,000 for program implementation
https://www.fresnoforparks.comMeasure W: Los Angeles Region’s Public Health and Safe, Clean Water Program
Los Angeles County is asking voters to consider approving over $300 million annually to provide local, dedicated funding to increase local water supply, improve water quality, and protect public health. The measure will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot as Measure W and will need a supermajority for approval.
Specifically the measure will help with improving/protecting water quality; capturing rain/stormwater to increase safe drinking water supplies and prepare for future drought; and protecting public health and marine life by reducing pollution, trash, toxins/plastics entering Los Angeles County waterways, bays, and beaches.
Ballot Issue 1A: Strengthening Forest Health, Conserving and Supporting Working Ranches and Farms and Rural Landscapes, and Managing the Impacts of Growth Measure
Ballot Issue 1A will:
- Strengthen forest health to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires that threaten our communities, water supplies and economy;
- Conserve and support our working ranches, farms and rural landscapes, protecting water quality, water quantity and wildlife habitat;
- Help manage the impacts of growth and increased recreation to protect our trails, campsites and scenic rivers; and
- Conserve fish and wildlife habitat, and protect it from damaging wildfire and post-fire flooding
http://thisischaffee.orgYes on 2A: Healthy Parks and Rivers for Everyone
Denver’s parks, trails, and open space are a defining feature of life for this active city on the doorstep of the Rocky Mountains. But the longer the city waits to restore and maintain its recreation resources, the more it will cost taxpayers in the long run. And it’s especially important now, as Denver’s population grows faster than almost any other major city in the country. The time to plan for smart, healthy growth is now. That’s why we’re urging Denver voters to vote YES on a quarter-cent sales and use tax. The measure could generate nearly $46 million for parks and open space, just in its first year.
Connecticut’s public parks and forests are a key driver in the state’s economy, attracting eight million visitors every year and generating over $1 billion in state revenue, while supporting nearly 70,000 outdoor recreation jobs. Question #2 will amend the Connecticut State Constitution to protect lands held by the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (e.g. state parks, state-owned farms, forests, trails, wildlife management areas, etc.) or the Department of Agriculture from being sold, converted, swapped, or given away without first receiving a public hearing and a two-thirds vote from the General Assembly. Improving accountability and transparency in government and protecting community assets is critical to support the state’s economy and quality of life for future generations.
Sarasota County General Obligation Bonds for Legacy Trail Extension with Enhanced Safety and Connections
This bond referendum will generate funds to acquire and develop an eight-mile extension of Sarasota County’s popular Legacy Trail. Since it opened in 2008, the trail—an 11-mile path converted from an old railroad bed—has become a mainstay for walkers, runners, and cyclists, attracting 200,000 visitors annually. If approved, the bond referendum would also help improve trail connections from North Port through Venice to downtown Sarasota. The measure will also fund much-needed improvements along the entire route, including elevated overpasses at busy intersections.
https://www.sarasotadems.org/2018/08/14/legacy-trail-resolution/Turnbull Creek Water Quality, Wildlife Habitat, and Natural Areas Protection Bond
The city of New Smyrna Beach on Florida’s Atlantic Coast is experiencing a wave of development and population growth, and residents are advocating for more parks funding to keep up with the increased demand. The city has an opportunity to purchase a property along Turnbull Creek that’s currently slated for residential development and conserve it as a nature park instead—and they’re voting in November on a $15 million bond to fund the project, which will protect clean water by preventing pollution in local creeks and rivers, and ultimately the Atlantic Coast.
http://www.news-journalonline.com/news/20180818/nsb-will-ask-voters-to-borrow-15m-for-turnbull-preservation%C2%A0Doral Parks for Tomorrow: General Obligation Bonds Referendum for Parks, Natural Areas, and Recreational Facilities
Doral is a beautiful, active, family-friendly city in the heart of Miami-Dade County. This election season, voters will take up the Parks for Tomorrow referendum. If it passes, the 30-year, $150 million bond will fund five miles of new trails, green spaces, sports fields, playgrounds, an aquatic facility, and cultural amenities. Local parks where families gather and play would see much-needed upgrades, and the 82-acre Dora Central Park will be improved.
https://www.doralparksbond.orgCape Coral General Obligation Bonds for Parks, Wildlife Habitat, and Shoreline Protection and Recreational Facilities
In the 1970s, the founders of Cape Coral—a master planned community on a peninsula jutting into the Gulf of Mexico—laid out a series of beautiful canals throughout the town, but established relatively few parks and open spaces. Today, Cape Coral residents are looking to bring their park system up to date, investing in parks, natural areas, recreation centers, trails, boat ramps, piers, and swimming and fishing spots, while creating wildlife habitat. In November, residents will vote on a $60 million, 15-year bond to make it possible.
Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Act
The Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Act will protect Georgia’s water, land, and wildlife for future generations—without raising taxes. A state constitutional amendment, the Stewardship Act dedicates a portion of the existing sales and use tax on outdoor sporting goods to land conservation and parks for 10 years. Funding from the Stewardship Act would protect forests, wildlife habitat, and land critical to clean drinking water. Funding would also be used to acquire and improve parks and trails in communities throughout the state—as well as to protect and maintain state parks and wildlife areas. Strict accountability provisions, including full public disclosure of all expenditures, will ensure funds are properly spent.
Community Preservation Act
Voters in the central Massachusetts, town of Berlin will be asked to adopt the state’s popular Community Preservation Act (CPA) program, which is already in place in 173 other Massachusetts cities and towns. Over $2 billion has been raised statewide under CPA for open space protection, recreation, historic preservation, and affordable housing. In Berlin, the program would be funded by a 3 percent local property tax surcharge which is expected to raise $250,000 annually. The town will also receive matching funds from the state’s CPA Trust Fund. CPA was defeated previously at the ballot box twice in Berlin, in 2001 and 2006.
https://www.communitypreservation.orgCommunity Preservation Act
Plainville, a small community in Southeastern Massachusetts, will be voting to adopt the Community Preservation Act (CPA) program. In Plainville, the CPA proposal is to add a 1 percent property tax surcharge to fund the local CPA account, with the funds being restricted to open space, recreation, historic preservation and affordable housing. CPA is estimated to annually raise $165,000 from the local surcharge plus state matching funds from the CPA Trust Fund. CPA was defeated once before in Plainville, back in 2001.
Brooklyn Park Natural Resource Protection and Park Bond
Brooklyn Park’s population is booming—and residents are calling for more parks and better trails to keep pace. In November, voters will have the chance to approve a $26 million bond to fund the parks investments the city needs to stay green and healthy as it grows. If it passes, the measure will generate funds to protect land and water; improve large neighborhood parks and recreational facilities; develop the trail network, and build and maintain special use facilities for seniors and families.
Vote Yes for Open Space, Rivers and Farmlands
Missoula County residents are proud of their tradition of protecting and caring for open space, water, and farmland. In 2006, voters passed a much-needed open space bond. Today, those funds are depleted, and residents know there is work to be done, land to protect, and farms to preserve. In November, voters countywide have the chance to approve a bond creating $15 million for conservation funding. In the city of Missoula, voters will also decide on an annual $500,000 levy for park stewardship. These much-needed funds will ensure Missoula can maintain its commitment to open space conservation far into the future.
General Obligation Bonds, not to Exceed $25,000,000 for Land Preservation to Protect Natural Land, Farmland, and Water Quality
The Beaufort County Rural and Critical Lands program of has completed 112 land protection projects, preserving over 23,900 acres of land for conservation, parks, buffers, and scenic vistas. Since 1998, Beaufort County voters have approved four successive bond referendums to fund the Rural and Critical Lands program. Voters overwhelmingly supported the passage of these bonds with an average of 71 percent approval rate, approving $135 million for conservation. This November, Beaufort County voters will vote on whether to extend that funding with a $25 million bond to protect clean water, beaches, creeks and rivers, wildlife habitat, and coasts.
City of Austin's Park System
Austin’s population has been growing rapidly—but its budget for parks hasn’t kept pace. Today, the park system is in dire need of investment, and voters will have the chance to approve two key bonds at the polls this November. They’ll be decided a $149 million bond for parks and recreation, with emphasis on creating parks where they’re needed most. Austin voters will also decide on a $184 million bond for flood mitigation and open space.