On November 6th, Alabama voters will have the chance to extend the Forever Wild Land Trust for another twenty years. Forever Wild was created in 1992 with the strong support of 83 percent of Alabama voters who believe in the preservation of many of our state’s natural habitats, endangered plants and animals, and wilderness land. Forever Wild also strongly promotes and encourages Alabamians to engage in a wide range of recreational opportunities on these lands. Supporters of this unique land trust, have spent the last twenty years working effortlessly to secure more than 220,000 acres of land-all without burdening Alabama tax payers.
Forever Wild is largely supported by a wide variety of diverse coalition groups across the state and beyond. “We have more than 190 outdoor and environmental organizations, businesses-large and small, municipal and county governments, chambers of commerce and many others who have signed on in support of the re-authorization of Forever Wild as-is for another 20 years,” says Wendy Jackson, Executive Director of the Freshwater Land Trust and Vice Chair of Protect Forever Wild. “These organizations represent a variety of interest in Alabama from every part of the state.” The group of close to 200 supporters consists of a wide variety of affiliations, including the NRA, the Sierra Club, the League of Women Voters, the Alabama Wildlife Federation, the Business Council of Alabama, and many more.
Such broad support is indicative of the many interests and activities provided by Forever Wild. These tracts located all throughout Alabama support recreational opportunities that range from hunting and fishing, to hiking, camping, horseback riding, canoeing, and bird watching. In turn, these properties and activities act as economic engines by attracting people who stimulate the local economy. In addition, the environmental impact is vast, as Forever Wild protects unique geographical and ecological aspects of Alabama’s unique outdoor heritage. Many tracts protect rare or endangered plants and animals as well.
The program is funded from the interest earned from Gulf oil and gas leases, and is a true representative of the successes that can be achieved through conservation efforts. Annually, Forever Wild receives 10 percent of the interest earned from natural gas royalties, with a set cap at $15 million a year. Forever Wild receives no funding from taxpayers.
For more information, and to learn how you can play a role in the renewal efforts of Forever Wild, please visit Alabamians for Forever Wild website.