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Putting the Land in Trust

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Published on: Nov. 2, 1997

Last revision: Oct. 27, 2010

usually has more requests for assistance than it can handle promptly. Though membership is growing and dues help with some day-to-day expenses, the land protection work is done by volunteers who pay their own way. ORLT is building a stewardship fund designed to earn interest, pay for future land protection and perhaps eventually pay full-time staff.

"We're going to be doing this forever," Galbraith says confidently. "We're concerned about doing it right." Such expectations require extremely long range planning, at least 50 years ahead.

All over the Ozarks, there are places that belong to the quiet, timeless space of an ancient earth, where the land has an intertwined history created by nature and humans who have lived there. People with foresight are determined to bring such places under a sheltering wing. When that happens, says Galbraith, "people and the environment come out winners."

For more information, contact Ozark Regional Land Trust, 427 S. Main St., Carthage, 64836, phone (417) 358-0852, e-mail at <orltoffice@getonthe.net>, or visit <http://www.mrba.org/mrba/members/groups/ozarkrlt.html>.

Missourians Who Treasure the Land

The Conservation Department receives many questions about putting land in conservation easements, stemming loss of farmland and starting greenways in urban areas. The Conservation Department, which has its own program for donations of land and other gifts, has assisted greenway groups by purchasing tracts to become part of their corridors.

In the fall of 1995, the Conservation Department, together with nonprofit land organizations, held a "Partners in Land Protection" workshop to inform Missourians about preservation possibilities.

The land trust movement is growing faster in urban areas here and coming into rural areas more slowly, as it did on the east coast.

Here's a sampling of Missouri groups involved in protecting land from future changes:

  • Meramec Valley Community Land Trust. In the Ozarks southwest of St. Louis, this land is owned by 20 families. Each family has a 5-acre tract, with the rest of the 213 acres held in common. A few owners have built vacation dwellings compatible with the environment, but most simply camp, walk in the woods and float area streams. Covenants protect the land, which is mostly forest. Owners meet quarterly, share maintenance and have conducted a controlled burn to promote wildflower growth.
  • Ozark Greenways. This Springfield-based organization establishes "linear parks" for recreation and conservation. Its South Creek/Wilson's Creek Greenway, which will allow visitors to hike or bike 10 miles between Meador Park and Wilson Creek

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