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.