Forever Wild

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The Alabama Forever Wild Land Trust (commonly shortened to Forever Wild) is a public lands preservation program created in 1992 by Amendment 543 to the Alabama Constitution of 1901. The amendment was ratified by statewide vote with an 84% margin in favor of establishing the land trust. The program is operated by the Alabama State Lands Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Forever Wild is funded by a portion of the proceeds from oil and natural gas leases off the Alabama Gulf Coast and has acquired more than 221,800 acres of often fragile habitats for public use, at an average cost of $720 per acre. It is overseen by a 15-member Board of Trustees, which established its procedures for evaluating properties and negotiating acquisitions. The Board developed policies seeking to acquire land for nature preserves and recreational areas (managed by the State Lands Division), state parks (managed by the State Parks Division), and wildlife management areas (managed by the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division).

Alabama's ratio of publicly-owned to privately-held land is by far the lowest in the Southeast. While many parcels were purchased with an eye to protecting wildlife habitat and important ecosystems, the properties acquired by Forever Wild are generally made available for hunting and recreational uses. The funds provided from the State have typically been enhanced by federal grants for conservation. Forever Wild has also partnered with other state, county, local and non-governmental agencies to assist in identifying and acquiring properties and developing recreational, educational and conservation programs in specific tracts. The program, as first enacted, is set to expire in 2012 unless reauthorized.

Birmingham Area acquisitions

References

  • Spencer, Thomas (February 27, 2011) "Forever Wild may lose funding from Alabama Legislature." Birmingham News

External links