NJ Keep It Green represents more than 175 statewide, local and regional organizations committed to land conservation, agriculture, historic preservation, environmental protection, urban parks, hunting and fishing, and other forms of outdoor recreation, working together to sustain funding for the preservation and stewardship of New Jersey's waterways, wildlife habitat, natural areas, farmland, forests, parks and historic sites for our quality of life and future generations. This work is guided by the belief that every New Jersey resident deserves clean water and access to well-maintained, accessible parks, wildlife and natural areas, locally-grown produce and historic sites. Our communities rely on these necessities for a high quality of life, livable neighborhoods and sustainable economies.
New Jersey has been a national leader in preserving open space, historic sites and farmland since 1961 when the Green Acres Program was established. However, funding for the Green Acres, Farmland and Historic Preservation Programs will run dry by the end of 2012 bringing critical preservation efforts to halt. At the same time, our state continues to face intense development pressure that threatens hundreds of thousands of acres of important lands and waterways that remain unprotected. Furthermore, many of the parks, natural areas and historic sites that have been protected are suffering due to a chronic lack of funding to care for these special places, especially in urban areas, that has diminished the ecological, recreational and historic values they are intended to protect. This lack of funding has resulted in a steady decline in services and maintenance, a backlog of over $200 million in needed repairs, and reduced staffing at state parks and other public lands.
To address these challenges, NJ Keep It Green is working to achieve the following two goals:
Creation of a stable source of constitutionally-dedicated funds for the acquisition, capital improvement, and stewardship of state and local natural areas, parks, farmland and historic sites in New Jersey. NJ Keep It Green supports at least $200 million in annual, dedicated funding for the next several decades to continue critical open space, farmland and historic preservation efforts as well as ensure better stewardship of preserved lands, parks and historic sites.
Increased appropriations for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife, Division Parks and Forestry and the Office of Natural Resources Restoration in the State budget. The state agencies that own and manage New Jersey's public lands and historic sites must have increased resources for the operations and maintenance of these lands on an annual basis in order to effectively manage natural, recreational and historic resources, to ensure public access, and to provide a high-quality visitor experience for the public.
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Paid for by NJ Keep It Green, a project of The Conservation Campaign, 20 Community Place, Suite 7, Morristown, NJ 07960