State Legislators urged to extend Forever Wild program

From The Associated Press article “Alabama Urged to Extend Land Preservation Program” by Bob Johnson:

Conservation leaders in Alabama urged the Legislature on Monday to continue the Forever Wild program that in 18 years has preserved about 200,000 acres of wilderness in the state. Forever Wild uses money from oil and gas revenues to purchase private land. It will expire during the 2012-2013 fiscal year unless the Legislature votes to continue it. Conservation Commissioner Barnett Lawley joined tourism, hunting and fishing group officials and other outdoor enthusiasts at a Statehouse news conference to push for renewal of Forever Wild for another 20 years. Lawley said areas preserved by Forever Wild include the rugged wilderness area along the Alabama-Tennessee line known as the “Walls of Jericho” and the swampy Tensaw Delta north of Mobile.

Rep. John Robinson, D-Scottsboro, said he’s “100 percent” for continuing the Forever Wild program. His district is adjacent to the “Walls of Jericho,” an unusual rock formation that is a popular destination for wilderness hikers. “I’ve hiked it several times and it’s a great place. We have people come from everywhere to see it,” Robinson said. Alabama Tourism Department director Lee Sentell said preserving land through Forever Wild has given people a chance to explore “unpolluted, untrashed” areas of Alabama. “I have people say to me that they had no idea that Alabama was such a beautiful state,” Sentell said.

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