Tall Timbers continues to be your advocate for protection of the greater Red Hills region’s lands, traditions and values

By Lane Green, Executive Director

In most every issue of E-News or our other bulletins you will see something related to land use issues and advocacy for protecting traditional land uses, the right to use fire, land stewardship, hunters as conservationists, and wildlife management regulations. Over the past 20 years, we have been very politically and publicly active while still maintaining our standards of excellence in research, conservation and on-the-ground management information and products. Our regional planning coordinator, Neil Fleckenstein, tracks and engages us in issues that threaten the traditions and values that we hold dear. Positions on any of these issues are only adopted after a confirming vote of our Board of Trustees. We have to be strategic and focused on positions we take as they are usually costly in terms of staff time and money. Of the many issues we have taken a long term interest in, the right to use prescribed fire, is always a top priority. Just recently I had the honor and opportunity to address the new Governor and Cabinet members in Florida as they adopted a resolution for proclaiming Prescribed Fire Awareness Week, January 23-29. Tall Timbers has always been and always will be out front in these forums by working to maintain and enact favorable legislation, working with our public partners at the local, state and Federal levels and playing a leadership role in Prescribed Fire Councils in Florida and Georgia. The mission of these Councils is to protect the right to burn, to encourage the use of fire, and to promote public awareness and understanding of the natural role of fire.

There are 23 advocacy positions that Tall Timbers has been involved in since 1990. Most have been successful from our view point, even with the compromises necessary to keep us in the game. Recently, we have been involved in: coal plant issues that could threaten the use of prescribed fire due to the impact of their emissions on air quality in our region; zoning and comprehensive land use plan amendments in neighboring counties; mobility plans that could threaten rural lands and future land uses; scenic rural road protection, and river corridor protection that could threaten our lakes and streams. The list goes on and on. Be assured that we are ever vigilant – looking out for the interests of landowners in the region. Many of you have probably been called on to help in these causes and we are most grateful for the time, energies and resources you have committed. Rest assured you will be needed again in the future. You can count on it, and we hope you will be just as willing and eager to answer that call when it comes, as you have in the past.

If you have questions or comments about any of these issues or others that we may not know about yet, please contact Neil Fleckenstein, 850-893-4153, ext. 335 or Lane at ext. 239.

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