This year's election may be very divisive at the federal level, but when you go to the polls next month, there is one item on the Alabama ticket that ought to be a no-brainer: Amendment 1, which re-authorizes the Forever Wild Program.
If you haven't heard about it, the Forever Wild program has been around for about 20 years. The program is a state-run land conservation initiative that uses interest income from the state's oil and gas revenues to purchase pristine lands from willing sellers to be used for public recreational activities, ranging from kayaking to hiking to mountain biking.
The law that created Forever Wild is written in a way that requires voters to renew the program. If you go to the polls for nothing else this November, we urge you to vote YES for this one Amendment. Here's our short list of reasons why:
1. Forever Wild is basically free. No tax dollars are used for this program. Instead, interest income from the state's oil and gas revenues is used to fund it. So, it's revenue-neutral.
2. Forever Wild does NOT force any landowner to sell any land. In fact, the law expressly prohibits that. Only people who have decided to sell or who want to protect their land by giving it to the state participate.
3. Forever Wild has been massively successful at protecting our public lands. Ever hiked the Walls of Jericho, or kayaked the Sipsey River Swamp? Or perhaps done some mountain biking at now nationally-acclaimed Coldwater Mountain? If not, you ought to, and if you do you will clearly see the benefits of this program.
4. Finally, renewing Forever Wild is important because Alabama presently has one of the lowest percentages of land preserved for public use in the nation! We are losing in that regard to most of the states surrounding us, and our citizens are missing out on some great outdoor adventures.
So, please, renew this great program for the benefit of all our children. Vote YES on Amendment 1.
Have a question about Forever Wild? Tell us in the comments and we'll try to address your question.