Our public lands are part of the American identity. They sustain fish and wildlife, and provide outdoor recreation and clean air and water. In Tennessee, public lands generate $30 billion in economic benefit. Yet, they make up a small portion of our state—roughly 10 percent, or 2.4 million acres. This means any small losses of land, access, or quality could have a big impact on our way of life and our economy.
But our national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and other public lands are at risk. In recent years, a small group of legislators and land grabbers have been trying to hand your land over to private interests. Although this issue has historically been contained to the Western U.S., it is moving eastward. In fact, in 2015 a group of Tennessee legislators pledged their support for the transfer of public lands to state ownership, which typically leads to the land being sold to private owners.
Tennesseans overwhelmingly support our public lands but our elected officials need to hear about it from you. Don’t let them forget the personal importance and financial value these lands offer Tennessee. Let them know that transferring public lands should never be an option.
This fight has been going for years—we need you to join it today to help turn the tide!
Photo credit: Kellie Sharpe