On March 22nd BHA officially endorsed Georgia's Outdoor Stewardship Act.
Southeast Board Member, Chris Jenkins said "the Act positions the state of Georgia as a true leader in conservation, and will be a great example for other states to follow in the future."
Georgia has long benefited from a legacy of elected leaders who understood how important our land and natural resources are not only for the economy, but also for the recreational opportunities many citizens enjoy - including hunting and fishing.
As our population and economy continue to grow, however, there is a very real threat that access to land as well as the habitats for both game and non-game wildlife could be greatly reduced or even lost for future generations.
The Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Act (HB332), along with legislation calling for a voter referendum (HR238) would dedicate 75% of the existing sales and use tax on outdoor recreation equipment to the protection of the state's lands, water and game and non-game wildlife. This legislation will be considered by the General Assembly in 2018.
About the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Act
This proposal would generate as much as $40 million in annual dedicated funding for land conservation without raising or creating any new taxes or fees. These funds would:
" Protect lands critical to clean water supplies, wildlife or fisheries or natural resource based outdoor reaction
" Acquire and improve parks and trails in cities and counties throughout the state
" Maintain and improve public access to existing state parks and other protected sites
" Allow for long range planning as well as the ability to address immediate conservation needs
" Help the state attract more private and philanthropic investments in land
Building on the Legacy of Georgia Sportsmen and Sportswomen
Hunters and angers spend an estimated $2.3 million on their sport every year and support thousands of jobs in every part of our state. In addition, they are the primary source of funding for conservation land management through the federal Pittman-Robertson and Dingle-Johnson Acts as well as state license fees.
Funds generated by the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Act would be additive to these existing funding sources and could only be used for projects approved by the Department of Natural Resources and consistent with established goals for conservation.
While Georgia's elected leaders traditionally support land conservation through the appropriations process, a dedicated source will provide much needed reliability to the land acquisition process, including the development of a long-term strategy to protect critical habitat for game and non-game wildlife and fish.