Preservation and Land Conservation: Saving America’s Natural and Cultural Legacy
When a place has significant cultural importance the historic preservation movement stands ready to protect it. Many of us are also members of land conservation organizations that work to protect places of profound natural, agricultural, or open space value. But what about special places that boast a range of values? These places – often defined as cultural landscapes – are more than the sum of their parts. Loss of one dimension diminishes our experience of the whole place. Yet these complex sites can present challenges for organizations and resources structured to address solely historic preservation or land protection. The National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Land Trust Alliance are working to provide information, inspiration, and assistance to promote comprehensive protection of all the elements that make places special.
What's at Stake More
Approaching either conservation or preservation with tunnel vision can leave important resources vulnerable. Many sites listed among America's 11 Most Endangered Places through the years were saved (or are currently being addressed) by preservationists and conservationists in close partnership.
Spotlight: Drayton Hall
Historic sites can make the future brighter for their communities by forging partnerships with conservationists. National Trust Historic Site Drayton Hall, in Charleston, SC, led a triumphant coalition including preservationists and conservationists to contend with the threat of inappropriate development in the Ashley River Region. Learn more »
Land Conservation Basics More
Based on their most recent census of land trusts across America, the Land Trust Alliance reports that there are more than 1,700 land trusts with over 100,000 volunteers and 2 million members. So far, land trusts have conserved over 37 million acres of land in America – an area roughly the size of all the New England states combined. This total acreage is double the total protected five years before.
Guide to Comprehensive Protection for Treasured Places
It’s a major achievement to save a treasured place for posterity, whether it’s done by an organization, an agency, or an individual. We can choose from a wide array of tools and resources to safeguard land and historic resources, and it’s wise to get familiar with them all, to determine which will best advance your project.
The Case for Whole Places
Historic preservation and land conservation share common goals and common values, including:
- Ensuring wise use of resources
- Working toward social, economic, and environmental sustainability
- Protecting community character
- Promoting quality of place
- Connecting people with their communities and environments