A Critical Moment for NJ Open Space

According to Dr. Robert Burchell, a professor at Rutgers University's Center for Urban Policy Research, New Jersey is now at risk for complete build-out by the year 2050. That means fewer places for families to hike, climb, ski, and just relax outdoors together. And because New Jersey currently lacks the necessary funding to continue critical programs like Green Acres and Blue Acres - which support open space preservation and parks - there is a real danger that some of those places could lose their recreational and ecological values permanently.
Estelle Manor Park, photo from Keep it Green Coalition

So, what can NJ's outdoor recreation community do to stand up for open space preservation programs? Tom Gilbert and Kelly Moiij point out in this recent op-ed that now is an ideal time to research candidates' positions on open space funding, as November 5th is right around the corner.  We need to make sure that open space funding is a top priority in the Garden State. As many of you will already know, New Jersey's Assembly dropped the ball this summer by failing to pass a resolution that would have allowed residents a vote on a sales-tax dedication to provide much-needed open space funding.

Not only do the outdoors provide places for people to  recreate and recharge, outdoor recreation in New Jersey also brings in 17.8 billion dollars in annual consumer spending. Considering this, the fact that 13 of the past 13 ballot measures to support conservation funding have been passed by the state's voters should come as no surprise - open space and conservation have always been a priority to New Jersey residents.

The New Jersey Highlands, Pinelands, and other special places are treasures that deserve protection. AMC and our partners at Keep it Green are working hard to ensure that voters have the opportunity to support open space funding in 2014.

To find out more, check out the website for Keep it Green.

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