Public Lands in Focus as 2017 Session Begins
The Forever Wild Land Trust held its first quarterly board meeting of the new year on Thursday. Conservation Alabama was on hand to present the results of a return on investment study recently completed by the Trust for Public Land that quantified the economic impact that Forever Wild brings to the state. The study found that for every $1 spent on conserving land in Alabama, Forever Wild contributes $5 in natural goods and services to our economy.
While we all know how vital public lands are to the state, this dollar figure helps policymakers see the true value of investing in conservation. Beyond services like wildlife habitat and flood control, the public lands preserved by Forever Wild also serve as the foundation for our state’s recreation industry, which generates more than $2 billion in spending each year. Forever Wild also improves the quality of life in communities by attracting businesses and new residents and providing public place for outdoor exercise.
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Gunter Guy noted that the study’s results confirmed the state’s message that investments in conservation pay off. Alabama relies on its natural resources for tourism and recreation in addition to industries like forestry and commercial fishing, and without public lands our state’s economy would suffer along with our communities and our environment.
The full return on investment study can be read here. Along with our partners at The Nature Conservancy in Alabama we will be sharing the study with the state legislature so that our elected officials have the best possible information when making decisions about Forever Wild during the 2017 session, which began on Tuesday, and beyond.