Thursday, September 18, 2008

Land Conservation Conference in Pittsburgh

About 1,700 land trust officials and land conservationists are gathering in Pittsburgh for the next 4 days for "Rally 2008," the Land Trust Alliance's Annual National Conference. Roy Kraynyk, executive director of the Allegheny Land Trust, says while land conservation efforts are growing nationally and in this region, it's always an uphill battle. He says the issues include funding but it ultimately comes down to the owner. Kraynyk says the biggest problem is if the owner doesn't want to sell a tract of land for conservation or prefers to see to a developer. He does believe the public's mindset is changing...that instead of looking at a piece of land and wondering about the next mall or housing development, more people are looking at the greenspaces as "natural infrastructure." One of the major issues to be discussed during the conference is pending federal legislation to improve tax breaks for owners who promise not to develop their farms and forest lands.

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