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October 17, 2012
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Vote Early and Often 

Take Action for the West You Love



There are very few times in life when any of us holds the power to make a dramatic, far-reaching impact on the future of our community and environment - with just the stroke of a pen. But on Election Day 2012, many of us will have the ability to do just that.  

The Sonoran Institute has been hard at work with our local partners throughout the West to bring important conservation-related initiatives to a vote. We are particularly excited about three quality-of-life and open space ballot measures in Arizona, Colorado, and Montana. To put the power of an informed vote in your hands, I have asked Sonoran team members in these states to provide a brief summary of these three ballot measures.

Arizona - Vote YES on Ballot Proposition 119 


Prop 119 is a constitutional amendment to authorize the exchange of state trust lands for federal public lands in order to protect military bases from encroachment, and to encourage the improved management and care of trust lands with important natural and cultural assets.  


As urban expansion has continued over the last 20 years, military facilities that were once well buffered have had their missions threatened by incompatible nearby development.  Development has also threatened many of our treasured natural landscapes. In the mid-2000s, the only tool available to allow the conservation of ecologically valuable state trust lands - land exchanges - was declared unconstitutional.   


State lands in Arizona are required by law to be managed for highest and best use, which means that they are open to be sold or leased for residential, commercial, and industrial development. Because of the constitutional constraints, Arizona is currently prevented from engaging in land exchanges with the federal government, even in cases where both parties would benefit. Prop 119 would change that.   


Voting yes will give Arizona a critical tool for protecting military facilities and the tremendous economic benefits they bring to our state. It will also give us a conservation tool for preserving some of Arizona's natural crown jewels - places like Walnut Canyon and the Verde River headwaters in northern Arizona, Cienega Creek in southern Arizona, and many others.   


Learn more about Prop 119 


View the Prop 119 campaign commercial

Garfield County, Colorado - Vote YES on 1A

Protect our Ranchlands, Rivers and Recreation Economy  


Garfield County, Colorado's natural resources make it an attractive destination to live, work, and play. However, like so many other beautiful places across the West, continued development threatens the county's most valued assets - the working ranches and farms well-stewarded by the families of the Colorado and Roaring Fork river valleys; land along rivers and streams that protect water quality; important wildlife habitat; and parks, trails, river access, and other amenities that enhance the county's economy and quality of life.   


Our Colorado office partnered with the citizen-led Garfield Legacy Project to place an open space and trails measure on this November's ballot. The measure would establish a quarter-cent (25 on every $100) sales tax to purchase development rights and land from willing landowners to help protect and enhance the county's valuable ranchlands, rivers, and recreation economy.  


The proposal is streamlined, including a 5 percent cap on administrative costs, a 10-year sunset, an independent audit, and a citizen review board. It is a unique opportunity to protect water quality and quantity, the county's Western heritage, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities that attract residents and tourists alike.   


We need your help to make this opportunity a reality.  Together, we can create a lasting legacy for Garfield County! 


Learn more about this initiative 


View the Garfield County Greenprint Video

In Bozeman, Montana - Vote YES for Open Space

Bozeman voters have the opportunity to say "yes" to fund a $15 million bond to improve, expand, and create new parks, trails, sports fields, and natural areas.

With its well-earned reputation as a highly livable city, Bozeman continues to attract residents and visitors, but its existing parks and trails are not keeping pace. The current system for creating parks relies on new developments, which will never provide the flagship parks, critical trail connections, or athletic fields necessary to meet the needs of the growing community.

In addition to the recreation opportunities they will provide, improvements to parks, trails, and natural areas help improve the local economy by enhancing property values, promoting tourism, and bringing in new businesses. Development of athletic fields can also help draw in regional tournaments, creating millions in revenue for local businesses. 


A silver lining of our economic downturn has been the historically low price of land.  Parks and trails are part of Bozeman's infrastructure and transportation network, and no other funding mechanisms currently exist to expand parks and trails. Investing now in protecting Bozeman's quality of life will benefit families, businesses, and future generations. 


Learn more about the Parks & Trails Bond

Get out and Vote! 


Conservation work can often be glacially slow, and tangible progress is often incremental and hard to see. But we will know by the end of Election Day whether valuable state trust lands in Arizona can be saved, whether there will be funds to preserve open lands in Garfield County, Colorado, and whether new and better parks and recreation areas will be built in Bozeman, Montana.

And you have the power to make it happen!

Please vote on Election Day to turn these golden opportunities into meaningful conservation results. 


Luther photo 11-2011



Luther Propst


Luther Propst

Executive Director





Featured Video - Garfield Greenprint for Conservation and Economic Opportunity 


Garfield County Greenprint for Conservation and Economic Opportunity
Garfield County Greenprint for Conservation and Economic Opportunity


As Garfield County, Colorado grows, we will need to make important decisions about the open lands assets that contribute to our quality of life and economic viability.  


The Garfield Greenprint for Conservation and Economic Opportunity provides a vision for strategic conservation based on local values and the best available science.


 View the Garfield County Greenprint video
Find out more about the Garfield Legacy Project

View other videos by the Sonoran Institute   



SCOTie Takes First in Show 
Wins Award as Best New Program 


SCOTie Fetch Newsletter Banner  


On September 20, 2012, the American Planning Association Arizona Chapter announced that our Successful Communities Online Toolkit information exchange known as SCOTie was awarded APA AZ's award for Best Education/Participation Program.


SCOTie would not be possible without the support of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and the Sonoran Institute, as well as our partners and users. Thanks for making SCOTie a go-to resource for urban planning in the West!


Check out SCOTie today 




2011 AR Cover lowres  






Other Stories & Links
Featured Video - Garfield County, CO Greenprint
SCOTie Takes First in Show!
Support Our Work - Inspired to Follow Success
Arizona - Vote YES on Prop 119
Colorado - Vote YES on Prop 1A
Montana - Vote YES on Parks & Trails Bond
New Video - Choices
Featured Report - About Town
Opinion - County Needs to Pay for Growth Differently

Donate Now

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Support the work of the Institute

Tom McMurray - Inspired to Follow Success


Struck by the beauty and importance of the Colorado River Delta, Tom McMurray was inspired by the work of the Institute and wanted to help."There is a great potential for success in bringing the Delta back to life." Read Tom's story.   


Read Tom's story 

Arizona. Vote YES on Prop 119 

Vote YES on Prop 119 
Vote YES on Prop 119

View the campaign video. Click on the image above.


Learn more. Visit the Prop 119 website 


Vote for the Good of Business.
Read the vote YES opinion of Inside Tucson Business


Colorado - Vote Yes on Prop 1A  

Garfield County Greenprint for Conservation and Economic Opportunity 
Garfield County Greenprint for Conservation and Economic Opportunity

View the campaign video. Click on the image above.


Learn more. Visit the Prop 1A website 


Open Space Well Worth a YES Vote. Read the Vote Yes opinion of the Glenwood Springs Independent 


Montana - Vote Yes on Parks & Trails Bond   

GVLT Map Video
GVLT Map Video

View a new video from the Gallatin Valley Land Trust about the Bozeman trail system. Click on the image above.


Learn more. Visit the Parks & Trails Bond website 


Bozeman Voters Support the Parks & Trails Bond. View the ABC-FOX news story on the bond.


New Video - Choices 


This video is about choices. We explore why choices matter when it comes to building thriving communities in today's economy and how, looking forward, we can make wise choices about the future. 


Featured Report

About Town - Building Revenue for Communities 

About Town long report   

Today's economy demands a laser focus on the bottom line. In the search for solutions, local officials need to recognize the value of downtown.   


Guest Opinion  

County Needs to Plan for Growth Differently

BB Brooks sign - Gregory Nickerson 
Gregory Nickerson Photo 


No development pays for itself. That is, the county can't charge enough in taxes to offset the services it provides. But the more services the county provides to sparsely populated developments, the more tax burden is placed on the entire county.


Read the complete Wyoming Star Tribune editorial 

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