More than 100 years ago, a few men of vision such as Teddy Roosevelt recognized that land should be protected from development and preserved for future generations. State parks were created, followed in 1872 by the world’s first national park, Yellowstone National Park. Wilderness areas and other protected properties followed.
Fast forward to today, and where are we? Budget shortfalls and reassignment of priorities have caused many areas to reduce services, and few new areas are being set aside. Cities continue to develop parks, but the focus is mainly on sports and recreation with little emphasis on the protection of natural areas.
Is the era of land protection at an end? Absolutely not! Thanks to land trusts and tools such as conservation easements, land preservation is alive and well. Conservation easements allow landowners to preserve their land, the wildlife it harbors, and the resources it protects (such as groundwater) forever, without giving up ownership of the land.
The benefit to future generations is tremendous. Some people may choose to allow public access to their land, but this is not required. We will all benefit from the clean water and air and the wildlife that is allowed to flourish. Even the preservation of a beautiful view has great benefit in a world of subdivisions.
The Cibolo Conservancy is proud to be a leader in this movement. How can you help? If you own land in a largely natural state or have friends or family who do, take the time to learn about conservation easements. We offer seminars regularly and are available for individual consultation any time.
The work of protecting land is never ending, and while there may be significant tax advantages to using tools such as conservation easements, I like to believe that most people participate in land preservation because they love the land and know that it is the right thing to do.