Constitutional Amendment Lets Voters Protect Parks
After years of threats to Alabama’s state parks, a constitutional amendment protecting their funding once and for all will be on the ballot in November. Senate Bill 260, which calls for a statewide vote on an amendment to specify that any funding earned by or designated for Alabama’s state parks can only be spent on parks, passed the House on April 20. This means the administrative transfers that decimated state parks’ budgets in the past will no longer be allowed to take place. It will now be up to voters to show their support for Alabama’s state parks in November.
The campaign to protect state parks’ funding has been underway for a year, and by our last count more than 11,000 messages were sent to the governor and the legislature during that time. Our elected officials heard your voice; this constitutional amendment is the direct result of the public outcry in response to closing Alabama’s state parks.
Last year our state parks experienced a funding crisis that closed five of Alabama’s 22 parks and required an additional six parks to reduce their services and hours. These park closures were caused by legislators transferring money from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) into the General Fund. These administrative transfers have occurred for the last five years, taking money generated from hunting and fishing licenses and park entrance fees from DCNR and delivering it to the General Fund.
Without your voice, our parks would still be under threat. But we’re not quite done yet. Your support is needed to pass this final hurdle. Your vote in November will protect state parks and keep them open for all of us to enjoy. Let’s ensure our public lands are there now and for future generations.