New Jersey Trail Advocacy Update: Summer 2017
Alongside our partners in the New Jersey Keep It Green Coalition, the Trail Conference never stops working to protect and promote open space in the Garden State.
Open Space Funding Secured
Land conservation and stewardship efforts in New Jersey saw an infusion of green this spring, when $59.5 million in Green Acres funding was finally appropriated by Governor Chris Christie in the beginning of May. This marked closure to a process that had begun in November 2014, when New Jersey residents overwhelmingly voted to establish a long-term, sustainable source for open space funding. The Trail Conference worked with the New Jersey Keep It Green Coalition to ensure these funds would go toward new land acquisition, capital improvement projects in state-owned lands, and Blue Acres funding.
Inaugural Open Space Month
June has been designated New Jersey’s inaugural Open Space Month. The Trail Conference worked with Keep It Green in promoting this campaign to celebrate New Jersey’s rich history of land preservation, to advocate for future acquisition and stewardship and, simply, to celebrate the natural beauty of the state and the recreational opportunities our lands provide. The June 3 National Trails Day Open House held at Trail Conference headquarters and the June 17 Day of Stewardship at the Delaware Water Gap were terrific opportunities to celebrate Open Space Month.
Keeping an Eye on Trenton
This is a critical year in New Jersey politics. The governor’s seat and all 120 seats in the Assembly and Senate up for re-election in New Jersey this year, but a great deal of focus remains on the incumbent administration and their maneuverings. The Keep It Green Coalition has monitored Christie’s repeated attempts to move money intended for communities recovering from environmental damages caused by corporate polluters to the General Fund. Natural Resource Damages (NRD) funds are critical for both rural and urban communities throughout the state attempting to rebuild from the misdeeds of corporations. The Trail Conference and its coalition partners at Keep it Green were successful in getting a question on this November’s ballot to ensure impacted communities get the money rightfully theirs to recover from pollution.