Some environmentalists act as if government is the only thing that can protect natural areas from development. They often push for government to buy land or impose restrictive zoning laws. But government already owns way too much land and exerts far too much control over the daily lives of Michigan citizens. And there are other, better ways to protect the environment.
Land trusts are tax-exempt, non-profit, private organizations that protect scenic, historic, recreational, and wildlife areas. They either buy land they wish to see protected, or else enter into legal agreements with landowners, who voluntarily abide by restrictions on the use of their land. Land trusts are privately funded. You can make a tax-deductible contribution to a land trust and so can corporations and foundations.
In 1998, more than 1,200 land trusts protected nearly 5 million acres of land nationwide. About 40 operate right here in Michigan, protecting close to 70,000 acres of Michigan lakeshore, wetlands, sand dunes, and wildlife areas.
If you'd like to find out more about this private-sector alternative for protecting our environment, just do an Internet search on Michigan land trusts.
For the Mackinac Center, I'm Catherine Martin.