Today an excellent feature regarding development pressures in the west appeared in the New York Times. The feature outlines how environmentalists and loggers are teaming up to protect private lands from developers that are carving out huge exclusive ranch properties.
Plum Creek, one of the largest private land owners that was formerly simply a timber company has now changed its business model to become a real estate investment trust. Some of the land they bought for less than $500 an acre for timber is now worth $29,000 an acre for homes and recreation.
A good number of conservation sales are taking place to the Nature Conservancy and the Trust for Public Lands, but deep pockets are carving out huge tracts close to public lands. Environmentalists and the forest service are realizing the importance of timber companies to keep a sustainable balance. With more homes going in next to public lands, the need to manage those lands and thin trees for wildfire protection become more important as the cost of possible devastation increases based on development.
It’s clear that a sustainable approach is needed that balances recreation, logging, the environment, land access and local economies. Read the New York Times article here (free subscription required).