June 5th is just around the corner, so here’s what you need to know about all the folks in the Sierra who are supporting the $4billion bond measure Proposition 68, and why you should too. And just so I can get this off my chest from the start, there are literally no dollars for dams whatsoever in the bond measure. Believe me – I’ve actually read the entire 15,000+ word bill text.
A multitude of top-notch recreation organizations from our region support Prop. 68 because it will upgrade our state’s recreation infrastructure. They include Tahoe Mountain Sports, the Outdoor Industry Association (which wrote a great article on Prop. 68), the Sierra State Parks Foundation, the Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition, and the Mammoth Lakes Trails and Public Access Foundation, just to name a few.
As you are no doubt aware, many of us live in the Sierra to recreate. We can’t get enough of that fresh mountain air, the dewy paddle board mornings, and the thrill of exploration in the wilderness – whether on foot, ski, motorized vehicle, or bike. And we all know (perhaps grudgingly) that recreation tourism feeds our local dollars. But what is sometimes hard to face is the cruel reality that our forests and watersheds are dying – and that they need our investment more than ever in order to remain that magical natural wonderland that we all play in (and perhaps our paychecks rely on). These folks know that Proposition 68 invests $1.3 billion into improving and repairing state and local parks, and investing in recreation and tourism.
It’s also a boon for wildfire prevention, which is one of the reasons why California Professional Firefighter’s Association and many local governments in the Sierra have endorsed Proposition 68, including the Town of Truckee, Mono County, Inyo County, Plumas County, City of Bishop, and the Town of Mammoth Lakes.
We all saw what happened during and after the 2013 Rim Fire. We all gripped our seats and shook our heads knowingly when the Santa Rosa Fire and other devastating wildfires burned through California last year. We all remember the smoke from the countless other wildfires that have threatened our homes and our forests; it’s a risky reality that us Sierrans live with every day. So without a shadow of a doubt we can all agree that wildfire prevention ought to be top priority, and restoring our forests to lower the risk of catastrophic wildfire deserves far more investment than we’ve given it. The folks that have endorsed Proposition 68 know that it invests $50 million specifically for forest restoration and fire prevention, making our communities safer. And that only represents a portion of the $142 million allocated specifically for the Sierra region for forest and watershed restoration.
Finally, it’s great for our natural resources. Prop. 68 invests $1.6 billion in clean air, water, and natural resource protection which is why endorsers like the Sierra Fund, League to Save Lake Tahoe, Sierra Nevada Alliance, Sierra Club, and Sierra Cascade Land Trust Council are all in strong support.
Does anyone need convincing that breathing clean air and drinking clean water (and having adequate access to both) is a good thing? Prop. 68 funding will support clean drinking water, sustainable and efficient groundwater and water supply management, flood protection, and restoration of lakes, watersheds, and rivers, including the Tahoe basin. There’s also $905 million for protecting and conserving natural areas and investing in climate resilience. Oh, and did I mention the $142 million dedicated to the Sierra region already? (See Sierra CAMP’s latest policy memo $492 Million for a Resilient Sierra for discussion on Prop 68, the November Water Bond, and climate resiliency efforts in the Sierra).
Get on board. Vote Yes on June 5th.
This $4.1 billion bond measure gives our region more funding than any other parks and natural resource bond in the history of ever. It doesn’t fund dams or the Delta tunnels – in fact, there’s more protections and accountability measures in the bond language than any California natural resource bond measure prior to this. And if you really want to make sure that the funding gets used correctly, there are public review processes built into every single program it funds.
The state’s finances are healthy, interest rates are low, and these badly needed projects won’t get funded without significant investment – particularly from the state. Now’s the time to act; stand with the region you love.