The North Carolina Land for Tomorrow Coalition is praising the 2023 state budget, which will pump more than $100 million per year into land and water conservation.
“Protecting land and water is vital to many of the state’s most important industries, including agriculture, tourism, forestry, and the military,” said Bill Holman, NC State Director for The Conservation Fund and chair of the Coalition. “Increasing access to parks, trails, and greenways will help keep North Carolina a great place to live, work, and play. We all owe the General Assembly, Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, and Governor Cooper a big thank you.”
“North Carolina is growing fast, and this funding is absolutely essential to protect land and water for future generations,” said Tim Gestwicki, Chief Executive Officer of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation. “In particular, this budget will help keep many acres of working lands in production by offering additional funding for our state’s farmers, ranchers, foresters, and others who are stewarding their lands for the good of us all.”
The state’s three conservation trust funds, the North Carolina Land and Water Trust Fund (NCLWF), the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF), and the Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund (ADFPTF) are essential tools that allow state agencies and nonprofit partners to protect North Carolina’s valuable natural resources.
Conservation funding in the budget includes:
- Increases recurring funding for the NC Land and Water Fund by $3.8 million, and provides an additional $2 million in nonrecurring funds, bringing the total funding to $30 million.
- Increases recurring funding for the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund by $3.8 million, and provides an additional $2 million in nonrecurring funds, bringing the total funding to $30 million.
- Increases funding for the Agriculture Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund by $10 million, bringing the total funding to $20 million.
- Provides $42 million over the biennium for trails, including $25 million for the Great Trails Program, $5 million for the Complete the Trails fund, and $12 million for the Saluda Grade Trail.
- Provides $12.5 million for the development of local parks that provide access for people with disabilities.
Land for Tomorrow is a statewide coalition of community leaders, conservation, and wildlife organizations, and parks and recreation advocates with a common goal: increasing land and water conservation in North Carolina.