Sunday, June 8, 2014

Conservation Tour

Where I now live used to be farmland, much more than presently exists. A group called North Olympic Land Trust has, since 1990, been trying to conserve large parcels of this land for future use.
A view from one of the farms that has been saved from
commercial development; over 60 acres for grazing or growing.

Today I joined a small group of bicyclists to have a tour of the lands which have been put into conservation easements and while it was a long ride (over 15 miles!!), it was a lovely day and I had a chance to see parts of the peninsula I might have otherwise missed.

While certain realtors and developers might not like this saving of lands with prime views and such, it is important to save these farms for future use.

As land is sold and developed, it is removed from the resource of access for grazing or growing, thus making it necessary to have the farms farther and farther away from the people who really do need them, in spite of those who think that milk comes from a carton and meat comes packaged in the store.

Siebert's Creek runs clear thanks to protections by a non-
profit land conservation organization.
One land owner is a breeder of draft horses, and he bought
it knowing about the conservation easement. His use keeps
the land in agricultural production, but still protects it for the
future, and other agricultural uses.
Some years ago my family gave up land to a national trust for management and care and, in the long run, it is a better decision than letting it get sold for some developer's gain. The pond and land around it still supports the wildlife and is a place of enjoyment for fishermen, canoe paddlers and swimmers in the summer.

I have seen what happens to places where little concern is given to protection of the land and where the rich come in and buy up places for their own use. Small villages or towns, once appreciated for their unique and special qualities, soon are overwhelmed by new landowners of carefully manicured acres of lawns, and the chemicals used to keep the 'estates' maintained run off into streams and rivers.

There is so much more to the issue of land use that I cannot go into it all here, but it is encouraging that some folks are beginning to see that none of us really 'own' the land, but are merely users living on it.

Spending the day on a bicycle, seeing how some of the owners have chosen to protect the land for the future, gives me hope.

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