The report features our work to pass ballot measures for parks and urban open space, highlighting campaigns in Houston, Texas; Bozeman, Montana; and Somerville, Massachusetts. The Land Action Fund has been involved in almost half of all conservation ballot measures in U.S. major metropolitan areas since 1996, working with our affiliate The Trust for Public Land and local partners.
This 10th Anniversary Report celebrates our first decade working with local and state partners to generate public funding for land and water. The report tells our story through the voices of our partners, volunteers and donors — the people with whom have worked to harness the power of local democracy, empowering people to protect the special places where they live, work and play. It includes a beautifully illustrated timeline of our ballot-box successes from 2000 to 2010.
In a difficult economic climate, The Trust for Public Land Action Fund kept the momentum going for public funding to protect land and water. Although fewer funding initiatives were on the ballot, support for them remained strong, as noted in a New York Times editorial citing the passage of the $400 million “Green Acres” bond we sponsored in New Jersey. The 2009 report celebrates some of the special places that are preserved today because of the public funding created over the past decade by The Action Fund and its state and local partners, from a 1,143 spectacular ridge top in Portland, Oregon, to a rare colonial-era farm in Oyster Bay, New York.
Presidential elections tend to be a great time to bring conservation measures to the voters and, despite the difficult economic climate in 2008, voters still overwhelmingly approved funding to protect land and water. The largest conservation measure in history, a constitutional amendment in the state of Minnesota to dedicate a portion of the sales tax for water, wildlife and the arts, passed after years of working to convince the legislature to give voters the chance to consider this dedicated fund.
The victories gained in legislatures and at the ballot box mean much more than just dollars and cents. The funding authorized will make cities more livable, keep farms and ranchers on their land, save pristine landscapes from sprawl, and protect rivers, lakes and wetlands.
2007 was one of our busiest legislative years to date, with major statewide legislative campaigns in a dozen states. The annual report highlights our work in a handful of these states.
2006 was a record year for the Trust for Public Land Action Fund. We directly supported 35 ballot measures that helped create more than $7 billion in new funds to protect land and water. The Action Fund was also involved in legislative efforts in more than ten states to line up statewide ballot measures for upcoming years or to encourage the appropriation of state funds for critical conservation efforts. The 2006 annual report honors the local non-profit partners, elected officials, donors and engaged citizens who made these campaigns a success.
In 2005, the Trust for Public Land Action Fund supported 41 ballot measure campaigns. Of these, 37 passed with voter approval as high as 89%. These measures generated a total of more than $1 billion in new public funds nationwide. In addition, the Action Fund supported a wide range of funding legislation that was adopted by state and local legislatures. In every instance, our success was really the success of the partners and coalitions that combined forces and worked collectively through the Action Fund. Our 2005 annual report is dedicated to the partners who make our work possible.
In 2004, a divided electorate found common ground when it came to conserving land as a response to the challenges of growth. The Trust for Public Land Action Fund oversaw 38 campaigns, of which 33 passed with voter approvals as high as 78 percent, generating more than $3 billion in total funds nationwide. We partnered with local, state, and national groups to:
- Manage campaign committees
- Coordinate media campaigns
- Oversee direct mail for local campaigns
- Conduct door-to-door campaigns to get out the vote.
Nationwide, state and local voters approved 75 percent of the 217 conservation measures that appeared on ballots. One of the most promising developments for conservation this year took place at the county level. Thirty-nine counties approved conservation measures totaling $2.9 billion, twice as much as counties had approved in any other year, setting the stage for the protection of wide swaths of land in rapidly growing areas.
New funding for land preservation continued to win broad public support in 2003. Voters in 24 states approved 100 of 134 conservation-related ballot measures during the year, dedicating some $1.8 billion to land and water conservation.
The Trust for Public Land Action Fund was involved in 16 of these campaigns, including some of the most controversial and important ones. The year was notable not so much for the funding totals ($990 million) or the winning percentage (100%) of the measures we worked on, as for the wide range of communities in which conservation won.
Saving land proved to be popular across an amazingly broad political, demographic and geographic landscape. From the Democratic wards of Hoboken, New Jersey, to the Republican neighborhoods of Colorado Springs, Colorado, voters shared a common enthusiasm for saving the lands near their homes.