Why We Like Land Trusts

September 21, 2010 by Caroline Leave a reply »

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Written by: Bob Kiesling
In the late 1970s and early 80s a wave of land trusts began to form and ripple across America. By 2008 there were more than 1,700 of these organizations, and collectively they had preserved nearly 37,000,000 acres of important habitat, open spaces, greenways, corridors and parks. Much of the birth, growth and success of such non-profit organizations derives from public recognition that Government – be it Federal, State or Local – simply cannot be expected to conserve all the important landscapes our citizens have come to cherish. Because it remains the case, even in these times of widespread economic recession, that the pace of sprawl and development far outstrips the pace of land and water conservation, the role of land trusts is as compelling as ever. Ironically, while broad and deep downturns in real estate values have presented some great opportunities for land trusts to acquire key lands or purchase development rights, or be granted conservation easements, sources of funding (public and private) have also sharply downturned.In the western US where Live Water Properties does most of its work, we have developed a network of relationships with national, statewide and local land trusts; we respect their work and support their missions. We make a point of staying abreast of statutes and regulations, tax incentives and disincentives, and various initiatives and programs that encourage private land protection and stewardship.  Moreover, because the lands we most often work with (ranch and recreation properties) have abundant habitat, open space, and water resources, we always keep an eye out for opportunities to make connections between landowners and land trusts.
No matter the market conditions, there are always methods and means available to advance sensible land conservation. Creative blends of private and public methods and resources for conservation are not just topics for lip service. Think about conserving the lands we love, and don’t hesitate to tap the collective brains, experience and connections that our staff have developed in the western region.

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