Conservation advocates want Gov. Pat McCrory and legislators to double the spending on North Carolina’s three land and water conservation trust funds.
The statewide coalition Land for Tomorrow made the plea as the state marked the 100th anniversary of the state parks system this week.
With the state’s population nearing 10 million people, conservationists say, the state should invest more to protect land, air and water while creating parks and greenways that boost the economy.
The coalition urged McCrory and lawmakers to increase spending on the trust funds in next year’s budget to a total of $55 million. The funds got about $27.8 million this year.
McCrory will release his proposed budget on Thursday.
Land for Tomorrow asked for $25 million for the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, which got $13.6 million this year.
The coalition urged spending of $25 million for the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, which got $13 million this year. It sought $5 million for the Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund, up from $1.1 million this year.
Legislators made Mount Mitchell, which was heavily logged at the time, North Carolina’s first state park in 1915. State parks now cover 225,000 acres and drew a record 15.6 million visitors last year.