Nov 16, 2011

Despite Recession, Americans Vote Yes on Recreation and Open Space

Despite a recent drop in the number of state and local ballot initiatives to fund parks, trails, and open space, Americans continue to support recreation infrastructure with their votes and their wallets.

In 2010, 49 recreation/conservation measures appeared on ballots across the country, 41 of which passed—an 84 percent approval rate and a $2 billion commitment from American voters. In 2011, roughly half that amount are on ballots. With results still coming in, voters in Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas have approved nearly $300 million in local recreation and conservation funding.

“It’s a pretty dramatic drop-off in the number of measures,” said Will Abberger, Director of Conservation Finance for the Trust for Public Land, “but at the same time we’ve seen the drop-off in the number of measures the passage rate is staying high, or even higher than we’ve seen in the past.”

Recreation infrastructure and natural areas enhance quality of life, work, and play. Voters continue to recognize the importance of local parks and open space, connected biking and running trails, and trail systems that link neighborhoods to those remote areas more commonly managed by federal and state agencies.

Looking to add the outdoor industry voice to the chorus, OIA will seek to engage our members in local ballot measures in 2012. For more information, please contact David Weinstein.