November 13, 2018

Letter to the Editor: Vote Yes on Q2 on Nov. 6 to Protect our Public Lands

To the Editor:

As a strong supporter and user of Connecticut’s wonderful state parks, forests, farmlands and other state-owned recreational and conservation lands (in our area, Nehantic State Forest and Rocky Neck, Harkness and Hammonassett State Parks, just to call out a few of them), I write in support of the public land conveyance constitutional amendment that will appear on our November 6 ballot as Question #2. I urge my friends and neighbors to vote YES. This ballot measure alone is worth a  trip to the polls.

Many people assume that our state-owned recreational and conservation lands are safeguarded for the public forever. Sadly, this is not the case. As things stand now in Connecticut, the state legislature, by simple majority vote,  can sell, swap or give away these lands to private companies or local governments just as it can any other properties that the state owns.
The number #2 ballot proposal, if adopted, would change this. It would amend the state constitution to require a public hearing and a 2/3 vote before the state legislature could take such action. Thus, while not providing absolute protection for publically-accessible and much-loved  lands, the measure would require direct public input on their fate. It would create an open and transparent process preventing back-room deals.
For many in our community, state parks and forests are our only way to experience nature and the outdoors. For all of us, our state lands are beautiful and unique; they nourish body and soul. They also contribute substantial revenue to the state and to the localities in which they are located.
Please join me in voting YES on ballot question 2 on November 6.
Sincerely,
Christina E. Clayton,

Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: The author is a former President of the Old Lyme Land Trust.
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