Conservation funding threat averted

The political fight between Gov. Roy Cooper and the legislature over the makeup of six boards and commissions that threatened to eliminate two state trust funds which have played an important role in land conservation in North Carolina for decades has been at least temporarily sidelined, and credit goes to the thousands who took time to contact their state representatives and senators.

The N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund has protected over half a million acres and 2,500 miles of streams in North Carolina since 1996, including tens of thousands of acres of public gamelands purchased across the state  managed by the Wildlife Resources Commission for public hunting. Also in jeopardy was the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) which provides dollar for dollar grants to local governments for parks and recreation projects to serve the public. PARTF is the primary source of funding to build and renovate facilities in the state parks as well as to buy land for new and existing parks. A portion of PARTF is the primary funding source for the Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access Program.

Both Senate Bill 821, with language that would simply eliminate these two trust funds, and House Bill 1120, which would fix the six boards and commissions without endangering the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, have been tabled until after the 2019 long session.

Sponsors of House Bill 1120, including primary sponsor Rep. Chuck McGrady, were appreciative of your help by speaking up in support of saving these important conservation trust fund. Thank you for not letting politics get in the way of decades of conservation protection for our gamelands and parks, and access to our state’s precious natural resources.¬†