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2     WHEREAS, Illinois ranks in the bottom third of states in
3 the U.S. in the acquisition of land for parks, recreation and
4 habitat; and
5     WHEREAS, Illinois ranks last by a wide margin among
6 Midwestern states in acres protected per capita with only one
7 percent of protected state-owned recreation land; and
8     WHEREAS, Land prices continue to rise and development
9 pressures mount making the need for protecting open space more
10 acute; and
11     WHEREAS, The quantity of water supplied by aquifers, inland
12 streams, and Lake Michigan is limited and land conservation
13 provides water recharge and stream buffering providing for the
14 protection of drinking water resources; and
15     WHEREAS, Outdoor recreation contributes to a healthy
16 lifestyle for the State's youth and adults alike, and young
17 people need more access to safe, rewarding outdoor experiences
18 to combat the growing epidemic of childhood obesity; and
19     WHEREAS, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has
20 called for the creation of more parks and playgrounds to



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1 counteract sedentary lifestyles; and
2     WHEREAS, Parks and natural areas contribute to increased
3 property values of neighboring properties; and
4     WHEREAS, Native Illinois wildlife populations have
5 declined precipitously, and currently Illinois has 424 State
6 and 24 federally listed threatened and endangered species; and
7     WHEREAS, Natural habitats have been shown to improve air
8 quality; and
9     WHEREAS, Illinois has lost more than 90% of its original
10 wetlands and 99% of it original open prairie and it is critical
11 to take steps now to protect the remaining acreage; and
12     WHEREAS, The Illinois State Wildlife Action Plan has won
13 national recognition but remains underfunded; and
14     WHEREAS, Illinois parks and natural areas generate 42,000
15 jobs and create recreational opportunities for all Illinois
16 citizens; and
17     WHEREAS, Hunting, fishing, and wildlife associated
18 recreation currently generates nearly $4,200,000,000 in
19 economic activity in Illinois; and



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1     WHEREAS, Voters have given overwhelming support to local
2 referenda for land acquisition and public opinion polls show
3 92% of the public registering support for the State preserving
4 open space and wildlife habitat; and
5     WHEREAS, According to the most recent Statewide
6 Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan 2003-2008, more than
7 $3,000,000,000 in State and local funding is necessary to,
8 protect an additional 85,000 acres across the State, for
9 renovation and restoration projects in existing parks and for
10 new public recreation facilities; and
11     WHEREAS, Land acquisition is a capital intensive
12 investment; therefore, be it
15 SENATE CONCURRING HEREIN, that we recognize that current
16 funding for open space is severely lacking; that capital
17 budgets have traditionally provided resources for land
18 acquisition, stewardship, and public recreational
19 opportunities; that the value of parks and natural areas in
20 protecting Illinois from flooding, improving water quality,
21 generating economic activity, and improving public health is
22 without question; and be it further



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1     Resolved, That we urge the Governor to present a capital
2 budget that includes $100,000,000 on an annual basis for the
3 Illinois Special Places Acquisition, Conservation and
4 Enhancement (iSPACE) Program, which includes the following:
5         (1) a new statewide land acquisition program to protect
6     the State's most precious natural resources and provide
7     recreational opportunities, including matching grants to
8     local governments;
9         (2) implementation of the Partners for Conservation
10     Program (formerly Conservation 2000) through land
11     acquisition and management grants; and
12         (3) implementation of the Hunting Heritage Protection
13     Act by increasing the amount of land acreage available for
14     hunting opportunities in Illinois; and be it further
15     RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution, be
16 presented to the Speaker of the House of Representative, the
17 Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, the President
18 of the Senate, the Minority Leader of the Senate, the Director
19 of Natural Resources, and the Governor.