Forever Wild Faces Extinction

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Forever Wild Faces Extinction

Take Action! Tell your state legislators today to vote NO on HB 362: conservationalabama.org/action/#/14

Rep. Mark Tuggle’s shortsighted HB 362 just passed out of committee and will go to the Alabama House for a vote.  If it passes that vote, it will go to the Alabama Senate for a vote which would seriously imperil Forever Wild’s future.

HB 362 proposes a constitutional amendment that would require the Forever Wild Land Trust to pay counties for any lost property taxes on lands purchased through the program. Just like last year, HB 362 starts the clock on the end of future Forever Wild purchases. With each additional acquisition, more taxes are owed, and less funding is available to purchase additional lands for public hunting, fishing and recreation.

Background on Forever Wild:

Black Warrior Riverkeeper is grateful for the work Forever Wild has done to secure public lands for outdoor recreation, fishing, and hunting, the ecological integrity of Alabama’s landscape, and the flow of outdoor recreation and tourism dollars to local communities. Forever Wild properties in the Black Warrior River basin include the Turkey Creek Tract (462 acres), Turkey Creek-Thomas Tract (48 acres), Ruffner Mountain Addition Tract (227 acres), Mulberry Fork Wildlife Management Area (33,280 acres), and M. Barnett Lawley Forever Wild Field Trial Area (3,342 acres).

In 2012, Alabama’s Forever Wild Land Trust program was renewed for another 20 years by an overwhelming majority of Alabama citizens – 75% of the vote. Forever Wild purchases and maintains public lands so that all Alabamians can hunt, hike, and enjoy the pristine, undeveloped natural beauty of our state. A recent Return on Investment study by the Trust for Public Land shows that for every $1 invested to purchase lands, $5 is returned to the state.

There is a misconception that Forever Wild has a special provision exempting it from ad valorem taxes. Forever Wild is not alone. In fact, all state-owned lands are exempt from ad valorem taxes – from the Governor’s Mansion and State House to lands in the state-owned university system.

With your help last year, we defeated a bill that attempted to dismantle Forever Wild. Now legislators have resurrected that bill despite the clear message we sent that Forever Wild must remain protected.

The voters have spoken – Alabamians support public lands for hunting, fishing, and recreation. How many times do we have to tell our elected officials to keep Alabama Forever Wild? Please click here to tell them again.

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