Nature Noted

Notes on a changing Nature

Location: Bellville, Texas, United States

I never would have predicted this one

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

The Millionaires Club

Land Trusts aren't the only way to preserve wide open spaces. There's also the old fashioned way. Rich people owning "vast tracts of land" (can't type that without thinking of Monty Python). The Denver Post (via Tidepool) has an in-depth look at the fierce competition to buy up ranchland in Colorado by the wealthy. Some want to keep the properties as they are, othere are subdividing with everything from small ranches to full scale developments. The prices being fetched are so high, that ranchers can't pass up on the money. Where do land trusts come in?

"Close to 50 local governments are using easements and land trusts to stem development on large parcels of land.
There are options for ranchers not interested in selling to developers or gentlemen ranchers to survive. One popular strategy is to harvest the value of ranchland through a conservation easement, which locks the land in a trust that prevents any future development but allows the owner to keep on ranching.
Kris Larson, executive director of the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts, estimates that close to 50 Colorado county and municipal governments are using easements and land trusts to stem development on large parcels. In 1999, and again in 2002, the Colorado Legislature passed bills that granted landowners as much as $260,000 in tax credits for locking their acreage in a conservation easement.
"We are seeing tremendous interest in protecting land and ranches in Colorado," Larson says.
But some ranchers, particularly the hardy, independent types, are wary of letting government buy land that future politicians could use for something other than conservation."

For the suspicious who still want to preserve the land, Check out The Colorado Cattlemen's Agricultural Land Trust. It's a trust run by Cattlemen with the intent of preserving working ranches.

Finally, thanks so much the the hardworking millers at Gristmill for adding Nature Noted to their blogroll.


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