Many Georgians think of Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources as primarily an organization that focuses on enforcing hunting and fishing restrictions and providing hunter safety training, but our DNR does much more! The Georgia DNR’s overarching mission is to manage and conserve Georgia’s natural and cultural resources. This mission includes everything from spearheading wildlife conservation efforts to managing state parks and historical sites all across the state.
The budget for Fiscal Year 2022 includes a total of $20.7 million for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources for the second year of the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program. The GOSP provides dedicated funding to state agencies, local governments, and some non-governmental organizations for parks, trails, and conservation efforts statewide.
Proposals that are considered by the GOSP include projects that support state parks and trails and local parks and trails of state and regional significance. GOSP also considers proposals that provide stewardship of conservation land or acquire critical areas for the protection of clean water, wildlife, hunting, fishing, military installation buffering, or for natural resource-based outdoor recreation. Those who are interested in submitting a proposal can visit the GOSP website for more information.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources also administers a variety of other grants ranging from land and water conservation grants to boating infrastructure grants. For more information on available grants, visit www.GADNR.org/grants.
The Department of Natural Resources received $14.8 million in needed bonds that will be used for construction, renovation, and significant improvements that will maintain existing facilities.
Our Georgia state parks have an economic impact of over $1.1 billion. Maintaining these facilities in good condition serves the 10.9 million annual visitors to our state parks and promotes their enjoyment and safety on the premises.
Even more importantly, it encourages these visitors to return! Additionally, the budget includes $50,000 to preserve historic sites and another $50,000 for the Georgia Historical Society to maintain historical markers all across Georgia. Our state is full of state parks and historical sites that add to the beauty and culture of our lives and the lives of those who visit Georgia. Over sixty state parks and historic sites are open to the public, including almost 2,500 campsites and seven golf courses.
The budget included $25 million for the Forestland Protection Grants program. These grants help local governments offset tax revenue and encourage the conservation of Georgia forests. Local governments apply for these grants through the Department of Revenue based on local participation in certain types of conservation easements.
Although Session is over for the year, please do not hesitate to call (404.656.5052), e-mail, or participate on Facebook to share your thoughts and concerns.
It is an honor to represent you in the General Assembly, and I look forward to seeing you soon.
Jon Burns represents District 159 in the Georgia General Assembly, where he serves as the House majority leader.