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Preserving the future

MURFREESBORO – “Saving the goodliest land.”

Local officials and interested citizens from the Roanoke-Chowan area attended an information session last week to learn about a plan to preserve one million acres of critical land in North Carolina.

“It is important that our legislative leaders understand the beautiful natural treasures our community possesses,” said Norman Buskill from the Murfreesboro Historical Association.

“Land for Tomorrow is continuing to work to educate our leaders as well as our citizens on the importance of preserving and protecting our state’s critical land. If we don’t act now, our grandchildren will not have the opportunity to appreciate North Carolina’s true beauty.”

The Land for Tomorrow initiative is a statewide partnership aiming to protect rivers, wetlands, coastal waters, working farms, legacy forests and other critical natural areas.

Hertford County’s local Land for Tomorrow Committee hosted the meeting to discuss the initiative.

Senator Robert Holloman (D-Hertford), Murfreesboro Mayor Lynn Johnson, Gates County Commissioner J.S. Pierce, Como Mayor Danny Edwards and several other local leaders attended the meeting.

Land for Tomorrow Outreach Coordinator Marge Limbert highlighted areas critical to the economic well being and quality of life in North Carolina during her presentation.

“Land for Tomorrow is part of a statewide effort to help increase legislative awareness for the need to protect these critical areas and historic places,” Limbert said.

Limbert and Ebonie Alexander, President of the North Carolina Community Development Initiative, discussed examples of how the Roanoke-Chowan area could benefit from the conservation initiative.

One aspect of the program includes a new initiative to fund creation and retention of jobs and related economic development in ways that promote land conservation and historic preservation.

Local Land for Tomorrow chapters have been established around the state to help the organization formulate support for the passage of a 2006 bond initiative that would generate $200 million per year for five years. This five-year business plan was presented to the legislature in June 2005.

According to Land for Tomorrow officials, North Carolina loses 100,000 acres of forest, farms and stream banks to growing development pressures each year. In the next 25 years, the United States Census Bureau says North Carolina’s population will grow by nearly 50 percent, surpassing the populations of Michigan, Ohio and New Jersey.

“Through public education, Land for Tomorrow wants to help the state reach its goal of conserving a million acres and ensuring that the goodliest land will be there to provide clean air and drinking water, strengthen our communities, promote job growth and enhance the quality of life for generations to come,” Limbert said.

Limbert and Alexander visited Murfreesboro’s river front and described the area as a potential site for tourism, which could play a major role in rejuvenating the town’s economy.

If the North Carolina General Assembly supports the Land for Tomorrow initiative, millions of dollars will be available to local communities for enhancing and restoring water sources, improving and expanding state parks and conserving farm land and viable agricultural communities.

“North Carolina is one of world’s ecological hot spots, but 18 percent of the plant and animal species in the state are endangered,” Limbert said.

More than one million acres of natural areas in North Carolina were developed in the past decade and the state lost more prime farmland between 1987 and 1997 than any other state except Texas and Ohio.

“Land and historic preservation will serve as a catalyst for revitalizing towns,” Limbert added.

For additional information about Land for Tomorrow go to www.landfortomorrow.org and to join the local effort, contact the Murfreesboro Historical Association at 252-398-5922.