Land Trust on Verge of Saving Farmland

Almost all the money needed to save 57 acres of farmland from development has been raised by a local land trust. The land is in New Hampshire, less than a mile from Massachusetts and Vermont. “We have raised a little over $250,000,” David Kotker told the Valley Post on August 20. “We still need to raise about $4,000.” Kotker works for the Mount Grace land trust, which has a web site at www.MountGrace.org.

The land is in the New Hampshire towns of Hinsdale and Winchester. Land trusts get most of their money from the government. State and federal elected officials decide how much to invest in permanently protecting farmland and forestland, thereby preventing climate change, versus building prisons and spending money on the military. Some town governments in the Valley invest in protecting open space.

Raising taxes on millionaires is another way to fund land conservation. In 2011, there were 11,557 Massachusetts residents who made over $1 million a year, according to the state tax department.

Land trusts also get donations from individuals.

A new map of the Connecticut River watershed in Massachusetts, southeast Vermont and southwest New Hampshire shows that the vast majority of the farmland and forestland is vulnerable to being converted to houses, roads, parking lots, and Walmart stores and similar commercial buildings.

Click on the map to enlarge it, then scroll down and click "see full size image." Then click on the map again to enlarge it more. You can move the image using the arrows on your keyboard.

New homes can be created by converting run-down, drafty single-family homes to energy efficient, multi-family housing. In New York City, rich people live in apartments.

In the Valley, land trusts have protected much of the land that is safe from so-called "development." Links to local land trusts are at www.FindALandTrust.org.

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