Forever Wild deserves to be protected

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, November 1, 2012

With a deeply divided electorate heading to the polls on Tuesday, one issue that seems to have overwhelming support in Pike County is Amendment One.

The amendment would renew the state’s Forever Wild program, which draws 10 percent of the annual interest from the state’s oil and gas trust fund to purchase and maintain public recreation, hunting and fishing lands.

Since its inception some 20 years ago, Forever Wild has purchased 227,000 acres of land in Alabama – some 21 new parks and preserves and additions to 27 more.

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Those parks and preserves are open for use by hunters, hikers, fishermen, campers and more. They are a small investment in preserving the nature and bounty our state has to offer and protecting them for future generations.

The program caps the annual spending at $15 million, but it often averages much less. In return, the lands purchased and amanged under Forever Wild contribute to our state’s $2.2 billion outdoor recreational tourism industry – a fair trade in our opinion.

Moreover, the program garners support from special interests that range from conversationists to hunters to the conservative Business Council of Alabama. All see the benefit of this program and what it has to offer our residents, our economy and our future.

It is, in our opinion, one of our state’s wisest investments, and we urge you to vote yes on Amendment One next Tuesdsay.