ALABAMA (WHNT) – Alabama voters overwhelmingly passed a statewide amendment to help improve and maintain Alabama’s 21 state parks.

The amendment, which appeared on the ballot as Statewide Amendment 1 will create an $85 million bond, passed with 603,899 Alabamians voting yes, over 76.94% of the vote. 180,974 people voted against the amendment.

$80 million of the funding will go towards new services designed to help modernize the parks, make necessary park renovations and invest in outdoor recreation infrastructure.

The other $5 million will goes towards the Alabama Historical Commission to help improve, renovate, equip, acquire, provide, construct and maintain historical sites. The Alabama Secretary of State’s website states those funds cannot be used in any part at the Confederate Memorial Park in Marbury.

“So grateful to see Alabama voters’ appreciation for their parks, and approval of the Parks Amendment on May 24th! Now we go back to work to make Alabama’s State Parks a first-class experience for every visitor,” Commissioner of the Department of Conservation & Natural Resources Chris Blankenship said after Tuesday’s primary.

The measure was the result of the passing of House Bill 565 in May 2021 sponsored by Alabama State Representatives Nathaniel Ledbetter and Wes Kitchens.

Rep. Kitchens told News 19, “I have three state parks in my district, so I see first hand some of the needs we have. Anything that we can do to get people outside, outdoors, is just going to be great for our state.”

Joe Wheeler State Park will see some of those funds to help repair and renovate the day-use area and Campground Loop A which were damaged by a tornado in December 2019. Gulf State Park will also benefit from the amendment, receiving money to help fix damaged cabins and the pier.

The $85 million bonds will be repaid over a 20-year period.