A website supporting the recently passed Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Act describes Georgia’s natural world well.
“Georgia’s economic success is inextricably connected to our quality of life,” the homepage of georgiaoutdoorstewardship.org states. “Our state’s physical beauty, available land and abundant supplies of water have created an enviable location where families want to live and companies want to locate.”
Conserving that land and those resources is paramount to our state’s future, especially in a place like the Golden Isles, where much of that beauty and abundance is on full display.
The law, which still has to be approved by voters in November, will take up to 80 percent of sales tax collected from the sale of outdoor sporting goods and allocate it for “outdoor-type projects, like conservation projects,” state Sen. William Ligon, R-White Oak, told a group of Republican women this week.
We appreciate his and state Reps. Jeff Jones and Don Hogan’s votes to pass the law this past session and to get it on the ballot.
As Ligon described, money collected under the law could, for example, go toward dredging the Intracoastal Waterway along Jekyll Creek, where it passes the western side of the island. For years it has been known as one of the shallowest and most troublesome spots along the East Coast for boaters using the popular path. If fewer boats bypass the section at Jekyll Island, tourism there will get another boost.
He also mentioned the possibility of the money being used for the Coastal Georgia Greenway, which got a $100,000 shot in the arm this year. The greenway is part of a trail that is intended to connect to the East Coast Greenway, which will run from Maine to Florida. Its path through Glynn County has yet to become a reality, but with the help of the Outdoor Stewardship Act, it could soon be a step closer.
These are just two of the many options that could benefit the Golden Isles by taking a portion of sales tax of sporting goods and putting it toward conservation and balancing the needs of our environment and our economy.
Should the law pass, we encourage our local delegation to the Gold Dome to fight for projects that will benefit our beautiful coastal region here in the Golden Isles and look forward to seeing meaningful projects getting started.