Last week was the first meeting of the Senate Committee on Environment Preservation and Conservation to discuss how to put into place the newly passed Amendment 1. This conservation amendment was passed overwhelmingly by Florida voters last November and will earmark billions of tax dollars for a variety of environmental related projects.
Instead of just rushing in and starting to allocate dollars to specific projects, the Senate Committee had a really good idea and that is to launch a website that would allow the public to comment on how and where the money should be spent.
“Florida’s environment impacts every single resident and visitor to our state, so we want to be certain that we hear from Floridians with specific ideas for how to implement this constitutional amendment,” said Chair Dean. “This webpage gives all interested citizens the opportunity to play a meaningful role in the legislative process.”
So outdoor recreational enthusiasts, now is your time to get your licks in. I can guarantee that environmental organizations will be strong arming their plans with the land management agencies close behind. This is your opportunity as an individual, or better yet as an outdoor recreational club or organization, to make sure that opportunities and access for your specific activities are heard. Opportunities and access are both key words!
Let them know that you want dollars set aside for actual statewide outdoor recreation planning for Florida. Tell them you want a process in place that implements strategies as outlined in the Florida Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan. Tell them you want a designated forum, as identified in SCORP, comprising of outdoor recreational groups that can actually participate in setting goals, objectives and strategies.
Your time is now, right this second, to go to the following website and let your voice be heard. (Note - you may need to brush up on your math skills first!). Go to: The Water and Land Conservation Page here!
Also you can always write directly to one or all member(s) of the Senate Committee on Environment Preservation and Conservation:
Senator Charles "Charlie" S. Dean Sr. (R)
Senator Wilton Simpson (R)
Senator Thad Altman (R)
Senator Greg Evers (R)
Senator Alan Hays (R)
Senator David Simmons (R)
Senator Christopher L. Smith (D)
Senator Darren Soto (D)
Election Day is Tuesday, November 4th and there is quite a bit to vote on that will have a significant effect on outdoor recreation opportunities in the future. While FLORC is not taking any stand on any individual candidate as we feel it is the responsibility for each individual to listen to the candidates and vote accordingly to the way you feel on specific issues.
However, FLORC has been an avid supporter for Amendment 1 which is the Florida Water and Land Conservation Amendment. Florida is in need of have a dedicated funding source for not only acquiring ecologically sensitive lands and water systems but to also properly and sometime aggressively restore and maintain properties currently under public ownership.
FLORC is hoping that with the passage of this amendment that the outdoor recreational community as a whole will be invited to subsequent talks on how this new amendment can help increase public access for all outdoor enthusiasts. This is our time to create a loader voice for the general outdoor recreation in Florida by first voting for the amendment and then actively involving ourselves with our local legislative delegates in seeing that all outdoor recreation needs are included in this most important initiative.
Get ready for a lot of work beginning November 5th!