What do you love too much to lose?
There is a proposal before the Island County Board of Commissioners to essentially gut the highly successful and popular Conservations Futures Fund.
What has the fund done? It has helped preserve and create public beach access, forest parks, off-leash-dog areas, wildlife habitat of regional significance; miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails and helped preserve prime farmland. Double Bluff County Park, Ala Spit, Greenbank Farm, Davis Slough Heron Rookery, Trillium Forest and the 3 Sisters farm to mention just a few examples of what the fund has done for us.
Who benefits? We all do.
We have access to beautiful areas to recreate, keep fit, commune with nature and spend quality time with friends and family.
This is also what attracts the tourists who bring revenue into our county. These natural spaces have made our county a magnet for the region and beyond.
Tourism is a major economic driver for us. It also provides an important tool for sequestering carbon dioxide, which is dangerously changing our ocean and atmosphere. Trees and healthy soils absorb tremendous quantities of carbon dioxide so that it can’t acidify the sea or contribute to the global warming melting of the polar ice cap and creating ever more severe extreme weather.
The CFF is a gift to the present and the future and easy to give.
What does it cost? Roughly $13 a year for the owner of a $250,000 house.
What can you get for $13 these days that would be the equivalent of those benefits I mentioned earlier? Actually, you’d be saving money. As a physical therapist, I know just how valuable staying active, especially outdoors, is for our physical, emotional and, yes, cognitive health and well-being.
In addition, the money raised through the Conservation Futures tax is highly leveraged. The money raised is almost always matched by state, federal and nonprofit organizations. This multiplies the impact to preserve far more open space than could possibly be accomplished with local funding alone.
This is a no brainer.
If you agree, write the commissioners at: BICC@co.island.wa.us and show up at the hearing at 6:15 p.m. Monday, Nov. 25 at the Commissioner’s Hearing Room in Coupeville.