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Vote for Question 5 in November

On the ballot for the November election is a proposed amendments to the
Florida Constitution that will enable the state to continue to protect land
for conservation and recreation purposes.  This amendment, Question 5,
continues the state government's bonding authority.  This bonding authority
is currently authorized in the constitution through the year 2013.  If this
bonding authority is not extended this year, land acquisition for
conservation and recreation would likely be funded at the $30 to 50 million
level like it was before P2000 (P2000 is currently funded by the sale of
bonds at $300 million annually). P2000 has funded the acquisition of over 1
million acres in the past eight years.  In many of these areas, the public
land managers have asked the Florida Trail Association to build hiking
trails and help close gaps in the Florida National Scenic Trail.  The FTA
has built Florida Trail in the following areas which I believe were
purchased or partially purchased using P2000 funds (I'm sure their are
others I don't remember): Blackwater State Forest, Econfina Creek, Torreya
State Park, Lake Talquin State Forest, Phipps Park, Aucilla River Water
Management Area, Twin Rivers State Forest, Big and Little Shoals along the
Suwannee, Etoniah State Forest, Seminole State Forest, Cross Florida
Greenway, Cross Seminole Trail, Seminole Ranch, Potts Preserve,
Withlacoochee River Park, Upper Hillsborough River, Green Swamp, and
Kissimmee River.  P2000 has also funded the acquisition of rail corridors
and recreation areas close to urban areas.  Our goal to establish the
continuous Florida National Scenic Trail from Gulf Islands to Big Cypress
will not be realized unless we can protect its entire route.  Our best
opportunity to make the Florida National Scenic Trail a reality is to
support Question 5 and extend the state's authority to issue bonds and fund
land acquisition and protection.

Question 5 also moves the responsibility for managing salt water fisheries
of the Marine Fisheries Commission to the Game and Fresh Water Fish
Commission creating the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Amendment 5 also restricts the transfers of state-owned conservation lands
to non-conservation purposes by requiring a super majority of the governing
body (Governor and Cabinet or water management district governing boards).

The Board of Directors of the Florida Trail Association voted unanimously
to support of Question 5, and I encourage you to do what you can to support
its passage (especially by voting for it in November).

The ballot title and summary are as follows:

Question  5

Conservation of Natural Resources and Creation of Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission

Requires adequate provision for conservation of natural resources; creates
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, granting it the regulatory and
executive powers of the Game and Fresh Water Fish  Commission and the Marine
Fisheries Commission; removes legislature's exclusive authority to regulate
marine life and grants certain powers to the new commission; authorizes
to continue financing acquisition and improvement of lands for conservation,
outdoor recreation, and related  purposes; restricts disposition of state
lands designated for conservation  purposes."

For further information and to receive forms for organizations to make
endorsement statements, contact the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee
at amendment5@fishandwildlife.org and visit their web site at

To support this amendment, you can also: write a letter to an editor, post
yard signs, donate to the campaign fund, create events such as rides on
acquired lands or trails to draw attention to Amendment 5, participate in a
phone tree effort, distribute palm cards to voters at local precincts on
election day, or become a county coordinator for these efforts.

To volunteer to help, contact the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee,
Box 5848, Tallahassee, FL 32314, 800-647-9912, 850-942-4430 phone,
850-942-4431 fax.

Kent Wimmer, Vice President for Administration and
Chair, Government and Community Affairs Committee

Kent L. Wimmer
910 Blackwood Avenue
Tallahassee, FL 32303
(850) 386-8442
kwimmer@mindspring.com (home)
(850) 488-3701 (work)
(850) 922-6302 (FAX work)
wimmer_k@dep.state.fl.us (work)

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