Fund to Preserve and Protect Tennessee’s Special Places
NASHVILLE – Governor Phil Bredesen today signed the Tennessee Heritage Conservation Trust Fund Act of 2005. State and local elected officials, along with representatives from environmental groups across the state, showed their support by attending the signing ceremony at Burgess Falls State Natural Area.
The Heritage Conservation Trust Fund provides a mechanism for the state to work with other public and private partners for the preservation and protection of priority tracts across Tennessee.
“It’s personally important to me to preserve land for the future of our state and the people of Tennessee,” said Governor Bredesen. “Once it’s gone, we can never go back to the wild spaces that are so much a part of Tennessee’s landscape. The Heritage Conservation Trust Fund allows us to leverage our resources by partnering with other public and private groups who are seeking to achieve the same goals.”
Governor Bredesen budgeted $10 million for the Trust Fund this fiscal year, which was approved by the Tennessee General Assembly. The Act authorizes the Trust Fund to accept private donations and contributions and authorizes the Fund to establish a 501(c)(3) to assist in raising private donations for land conservation.
The Fund will be administered by the Department of Environment and Conservation and will be run by an 11-member board of trustees, appointed by the governor in the near future, to represent all regions of the state. Each board member will serve a four-year term. The commissioners of Environment and Conservation, the Department of Agriculture, and the executive director of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will serve as ex-officio members of the board.
“The Heritage Conservation Trust Fund Act will go a long way to help us protect ecologically significant lands across Tennessee through acquisition, donation and easement activities,” said Environment and Conservation Commissioner Jim Fyke. “We’re thrilled to be at beautiful Burgess Falls today to celebrate this powerful new preservation tool.”