Losing ground – Sprawl a challenge

Rising land prices and the spread of residential development in rural areas are making it too expensive for conservation groups to save some wild lands, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Nov. 18.

 “Land values have gone up so fast that it’s made it very difficult for us to protect land,” said Mike Dennis of the Nature Conservancy, which has saved 900,000 acres in California alone. “When values go up, it means there are more buyers,” he said. “In some cases, we’re competing much more than we have been for land.

Preservation groups are getting some help to remain competitive in the real estate market.

The Sempervirens Fund, for example, recently purchased 1,340 acres in the redwood forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains for $10.9 million.

The group beat bids as high as $19 million with the help of lobbying from neighbors who did not want the area to be logged.

Higher real estate prices mean preservation groups must ask their donors for more money. Brian Steen, executive director of Sempervirens, said donors are aware of the problem and responding generously.

For full story, go to the San Francisco Chronicle.

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