Did you know that our public lands, which provide places for recreation, water quality protection, homes for wildlife, can be – and have been – give(n) away or sold without public comment?
On Tuesday, November 6th, citizens of Connecticut can vote “YES” on the statewide ballot to protect public lands. It’s true that our preserves are not owned by the state; Steep Rock, Hidden Valley and Macricostas Preserves are owned by this Association which provided access for the public to learn about conservation and experience nature. SO, why should a land trust care about protecting public lands? Because public lands are an important part of all of our conservation work.
- Public lands are important buffers. State-owned conservation lands are often important buffers to protect the beauty and solitude of our property/ies.
- Public lands provide connectivity. Wildlife corridors, recreational trails, rivers, drinking water aquifers, bird migration flyways, etc. usually extend beyond the lands we protect.
- Gifts of land should be honored. Families have donated and sold land to the state with the expectation that it would be managed and protected for the public’s benefit.
- Easements can be undermined. If the state’s easements on protected open space or farmland are undermined by the General Assembly, the integrity of land we worked to preserve with state funding may be compromised.
- Public lands bring revenues to our community. Every year, State Parks and Forests attract over $1 billion in revenues and support over 9,000 private sector jobs. More jobs in Connecticut depend on outdoor recreation (69,000) than on the aerospace and defense industry (60,000).
Through their state constitutions, our neighbors in New York, Massachusetts, and Maine have ensured that the public has a voice when it comes to selling their public lands. It’s time for Connecticut to have the same type of protection. Voting “YES” on November 6th would amend the state constitution to ensure that before the General Assembly could sell, swap, or give away your public lands, it must: 1) hold a public hearing; and 2) achieve a 2/3 supermajority vote on land held by CT DEEP or the Department of Agriculture.
In the words of Amy Paterson, executive director of the CT Land Conservation Council, this is an “historic opportunity to ensure that public lands receive the protections they deserve.” Be a part of Connecticut history, and vote “YES”
For more information, visit:
Report on the problem, by the CT Council on Environmental Quality
10 Reasons why we need a constitutional amendment to protect public lands
10 Reasons We Need This Constitutional Amendment
Donate to Protect CT Public Lands
Here’s the question on the ballot