I recently had two very frustrating conversations with a property tax agent in a huge Metro Atlanta area county. He kept insisting that our conservation land was nothing more than a vacant lot. I kept reminding him that conservation land by definition is vacant, but it doesn’t mean it is the same as a vacant lot. On both occasions the conversation ended with him just saying Vacant Lot! and me replying Conservation Land! My blood pressure is still running a little high 30 days later.
We can start with the obvious. Both vacant lots and conservation land may not have structures, but conservation land will always remain vacant. It seems so simple. But besides just being vacant there are other community benefits of conservation land for the community.
- All of STPAL’s properties are available for public use and benefit. They are all in various states of development related to the public use, but they are open. In many cases their best use is simply a place for the quiet enjoyment of nature. We live in a goal orientated and action item world. Do not scoff at the value of just taking some time relaxing in a natural area. However on some properties we are creating significant park amenities such as marked hiking trails, disc golf courses, canoe & kayak launches, and other recreational components.
- Conservation land provides habitat for wildlife. We frequently hear stories of forest animals running out of habitat and venturing into suburban neighborhoods. Bear sightings happen annually in the office parks and neighborhoods across the northern Atlanta suburbs. Having large tracts of conservation land provides both wildlife habitat and corridors. Corridors are particularly important for animals that rely on a “range” for their foraging, mating, and other activities.
- Large natural forest areas are also important for maintaining ecological processes and supplying ecosystem services like water and air purification, nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration, erosion control and flood control.
- For more information: http://www.landtrustalliance.org/why-conserve-land
This is a little insight into STPAL’s balancing act. There is more to follow in coming blogs