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Funding for acquiring Indiana's public lands slowing down

Posted at 7:52 PM, Apr 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-24 21:54:11-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The money needed to acquire public lands and state parks, like Fort Harrison and White River, has decreased over the last few years.

The funding for the President Benjamin Harrison Trust Fund comes from two main sources – specialty environment license plates, and when state lawmakers allocate money in the budget.

The problem lately? Money from the legislature has decreased by 90 percent since its peak in the late 1990s.

In the budget passed by the legislature Wednesday, lawmakers allocated just shy of $1 million to the fund.

Every time you buy an environment license plate, $25 goes to the fund. When the specialty plate was first available many people bought it, producing a lot of money into the fund.

But as years passed, more and more specialty plates have been released and people are buying those instead.

Jesse Kharbanda of the Hoosier Environmental Council says these state parks increase the health of the general public, create jobs and increase quality of life.

He’s asking people to buy the specialty plates and urge their lawmakers to put more money into the fund, even though the budget has been decided.

"Contact your state representative and state senator, even if the legislative session is over. To ask them to support at least 10 million dollars in additional money for the president Benjamin Harrison Trust Fund. This is the fund that helps protect those endangered woodlands, wetlands and prairies."