After more than a year since Alabama's budget crisis first threatened state parks, the state legislature has passed a bill calling for a vote on a constitutional amendment that would protect parks' funding from the debilitating administrative transfers that closed five of the twenty-two state parks.
Conservation Alabama's campaign to protect state parks began in April 2015, and continued through two special legislative sessions and into the 2016 legislative session. In response to alerts Conservation Alabama sent to members about threats to state parks, more than 10,000 messages have been sent to advocate for parks and a permanent funding mechanism to support them.
"Again and again, Alabama voters stood up for our state parks," Conservation Alabama Executive Director Tammy Herrington said. "They made it clear that our parks should not be on the chopping block, and their unwavering support for our public lands made this victory possible."
Now that the state legislature has passed Senate Bill 260, voters will have the chance to go to the polls in support of our state parks on Election Day.
"We're celebrating this bill's passage, but we have a lot more work to do," said Herrington. "From now until November, Conservation Alabama will be working with voters across the state to make sure this amendment passes and our parks have the funding they need to stay open now and for generations to come."
In addition to preserving diverse habitats and ecosystems across the state, Alabama's parks are economic drivers for the communities in which they are located. A 2014 study by the University of Alabama calculated the economic impact of state parks to be $375 million annually.