When I first moved to West Springfield in 1970, our community was on the edge of Northern Virginia. Much of what has become neighborhoods was only woods when I was a kid. It disappears quickly and that is why I have dedicated myself to preserving what we have.
One of my greatest accomplishments in this field was re-writing the Land Conservation Laws for Virginia in order to be more effective in preserving land. There are basically two ways to do it. First, that state buys from the owner the developmental rights so that the land will remain in its natural state, or second, the state gives the owner a tax credit to promise never to build on the land. To ensure that the owner or any successive owners never break that promise, a “Conservation Easement” is filed in the land records at the courthouse.
I point this out because Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF), a group that oversees these Conservation Easements, released their Spring 2012 newsletter. In 2011, the VOF preserved 39,000 acres in Virginia thanks to this system of Conservation Easement! This group now protects 650,000 acres in Virginia; that’s half the size of Delaware! Add to that all the other land Virginia has preserved through all its different programs, as of July 2011, we have preserved 3.7 million acres statewide!