In the early 1900s, Tennessee’s fish and wildlife were on the brink. Streams were dead. Forests devastated. Sportsmen and other outdoor enthusiasts came together and, with state leaders, created a model to fund and implement science-based conservation. It worked and built what we see today. But that success is at risk.
That 20th-Century funding model has reached its limits and isn’t able to meet the needs and crises of today. It’s largely based on hunters and anglers paying for fish and wildlife management but their numbers are in a decades-long decline. And other channels of conservation funding, such as for our state parks, have long been insufficient.
Today’s conservationists must come together to build and champion new ways to fund conservation. Add your voice to the growing number of Tennesseans calling for real, meaningful, long-term funding solutions—rather than treating the symptoms.
A solution will take time. But conservationists must begin to speak up now.