Rarely does Pottawattamie County Conservation wade so deeply into the political sphere. However, at this time we feel we have no choice. We need your help. This is a public call to action.
Your support, your voice, and your pen is needed to OPPOSE two bills that will go before Iowa State legislators on Monday, March 4th: HF 542 & SSB 1221. No matter where you stand politically, these bills are a threat to any of us that enjoy the outdoors in Iowa and directly compromise the future of public lands and outdoor recreation in our state. Collectively, these bills would prohibit counties from expanding parks, wildlife habitat areas, and trails by any amount. Funding that cities and counties have relied on would be restricted, and could not be used for expansion of open spaces in new recreational amenities. The state and its counties would not be able to purchase land for parks, wildlife areas, species protections, and strategic water quality projects.
Iowa is the most physically altered state in our nation – #1 out of 50 – largely due to our history of supporting failing economic sectors at any and all costs, and our state’s disregard for the short- and long-term repercussions of such actions. As Iowa strives to attract and maintain people to live, work, and raise families within its borders, we need to provide the quality of life features that they demand. At the top of the list in almost every survey, in every state—along with good jobs — is a clean, healthy environment and outdoor recreation opportunities. Yet Iowa is 49th in the nation in the percentage of public land available to its residents and 12th in risk to our health from pollution. These bills would only further reduce the quality of life in Iowa and drop Iowa even lower in the national quality of life rankings.
Public lands play a special role in providing critical services for our communities and our economies on both the state and local levels – the data on this is irrefutable. Our public lands and outdoor recreation opportunities provide vital economic support to the entire state, but especially to our rural communities which rely on the jobs, consumer spending, and public health benefits that outdoor recreation provides. Instead of strangling our ability to grow healthy, strong communities, we should be embracing all of the opportunities our great state presents – especially our unique and valuable outdoors spaces. We should be investing more – not less – in spaces that we and future generations can enjoy and that benefit our state’s communities and economies.
This is more than about the here and now. This is about our future and for what we will be remembered. Public lands are a legacy to our children and our children’s children. We cannot compromise that legacy with short-sighted legislation that will do nothing more than delay an inevitable, and harm the future of our communities, our economies, and our great state. For what do we want to be remembered?
Please click on the link below to find the contact information for your local legislator. Let them know how much you value your outdoor areas and ability of your state, county, and local governments to provide you with those outdoor areas. Give them a quick call or send an email to let them know that you oppose these damaging pieces of legislation. Below you will see a link to locate your local representatives as well as a sample letter you can copy & paste into an email if you would like to help us take a stand against this legislation.