RANGE Special Report:
Forever and Ever, Amen
Land trusts and the frightening thought of perpetuity. By Tim Findley

In May of 1999, Earth First! founder and environmental renegade Dave Foreman was promoting his almost unbelievable concept of a Wildlands Project to a New Mexico State University audience.

"Conservation easements are the key to the corridors," he told them. "Once the easements are legally in place, we can impose habitat restrictions for wildlife thus ending grazing and other agricultural practices. If the landowner refuses, the easement management loophole will allow us to sue the landowner and impose those restrictions."

Well out of Foreman's grasp in the gorgeous blue-green meadows of the Upper Elk River near Steamboat Springs, Colo., rancher Jay Fetcher could smile coolly at such wild threats. Fetcher donated 1,300 of his acres as a conservation easement in "perpetuity" to American Farmland Trust in 1994, and nearly 10 years later feels more secure than ever about his decision...


  • Making the diggery do
  • Tokyo prime
  • Willing sellers
  • A salamander's tale
  • First the family, then the land
  • Peers for the purpose
  • Analysis
  • Perpetuity
  • Success stories
  • Land trusts
  • Are taxes, like death, forever?
  • A rancher's view

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