Benton County is blessed with some very active and effective local nonprofit organizations that advocate for open space, trails and wildlife habitat. Friends of Badger Mountain, Tapteal Greenway, Lower Columbia Basin Audubon Society and Ridges to Rivers Open Space Network immediately come to mind. They have raised funds, facilitated land purchases and created and continue to maintain trails. These are all-volunteer local nonprofits with limited funding. They can’t do it all on their own. It is time to create a local source of dedicated funding to acquire park land and open space to protect wildlife habitat and increase outdoor recreation opportunities within Benton County. Now is the time to create the Benton County Conservation Futures Fund. It is a crucial step in helping to protect the natural beauty and quality of life in Benton County.