Forever Wild gets support from enviromental leaders

Protect Forever Wild, a coalition supporting the reauthorization of the Forever Wild conservation program, highlighted Forever Wild’s successes and emphasized the broad support for continuing the program in a press conference held recently.

Commissoner of Conservation and Natural Resources Barnett Lawley said the broad nature of the Protect Forever Wild coalition makes sense because of the program’s popularity.

“Forever Wild’s benefits extend to many sectors because it benefits such a large number of people from all over the state, whether they’re a business profiting from increased tourism to a Forever Wild area, or group of friends hunting together on one of Forever Wild’s many public hunting lands,” Lawley said.

Forever Wild was created by a constitutional referendum in 1992 that garnered 83 percent of the popular vote.

Its goal is to preserve environmentally important lands across the state while also expanding recreational opportunities to the public.

Forever Wild will sunset in 2012 unless it is reauthorized.

Jim Porter, who is the second vice president of the National Rifle Association, said that Forever Wild has been a great success so far but added that its work is not yet finished.

“For 140 years NRA has been standing up for hunters’ rights and is committed to providing public hunting opportunities to anyone who wants to get in the woods.

Few programs open the doors to hunting for everyone like Forever Wild does.

Alabamians realize that Forever Wild has done great things for their state, and they want Forever Wild to continue its mission of preserving land for the public.”

Speakers at the press conference included Commissioner of Conservation and Natural Resources Barnett Lawley; Director of the Alabama Tourism Department Lee Sentell; Executive Director of the Alabama Wildlife Federation Tim Gothard; Alabama State Director of the Nature Conservancy Chris Oberholster; Second Vice President of the NRA Jim Porter; and President of Mobile Bay Audubon John Borom.