Building Natural Wealth

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Published on: Nov. 2, 2003

Last revision: Nov. 16, 2010

volume and quality. Trammel said that 50 years of continuous monitoring has yielded one of the nation's best databases on oak, hickory and pine forest management. It is often used by university research projects. It documents that selective harvest provides excellent regeneration and growth.

Trammel is also working on a program to encourage responsible forest stewardship while increasing the worth of wood. Called "Value Missouri," the program was begun by a group of private landowners, environmentalists and the wood industry to certify that lumber originated on lands that are managed for sustainable forest harvest. People are willing to pay more for such lumber, especially in specialty markets, said Trammel, and the program can pay real dividends to participating landowners. Programs like "Value Missouri" and the 50-year-old research project are two reasons Pioneer Forest is aptly named.

Drey's long tenure as a large landowner and his dedication to conservation continue to place him in the forefront of environmental issues.

"I'm close to being fought out, though," said the 85-year old Drey, reflecting on battles won and lost. He was involved in the national "Wild and Scenic Riverways" designation of the Current and Jack's Fork rivers in the early 1960s. He advocated that private landowners along the river be allowed to keep their property while receiving scenic easements to protect the rivers from development. Instead, Congress passed legislation that led to condemning the property through eminent domain, creating resentment that still persists.

Drey also organized the Open Space Council of St. Louis. One of its first challenges was to sponsor a bond issue for parks. The measure lost by just 300 votes out of 76,000.

"We licked our wounds and concluded that a broader base of support was needed to address the many environmental needs of the urban area," recalled Drey.

That campaign was the genesis of Coalition for the Environment, the state's first independent citizens' group to address a broad range of environmental issues.

"We were gratified later that St. Louis County was able to acquire some property the bond issue might have funded, and one purchase became one of my wife's favorite areas - Queeny Park," Drey added.

Kay Drey helps Leo tackle environmental issues. He met and married her rather late in life for those times. His mother had worried that Leo's early preoccupation with buying forest land might never lead him to marriage.

When he first took his

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