Monday, August 03, 2009

Land For Sale But No Buyers

Even when I lived in the Adirondacks, 30 years ago, Follensby Pond was iconic -- a remote lake with both wilderness and poetry at its heart. Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Russell Lowell, Louis Agassiz and others of the Boston intellectual elite camped there in 1858, and their host, William James Stillman, underwent some truly mystical experiences,** if his book, The Autobiography of a Journalist, is to be believed.

Follensby Pond is the focal point of this important piece by WNPR/Connecticut Public Radio, which looks at how in the economic downturn northeast states might be missing out on some terrific land preservation bargains. Here are the nut grafs of reporter Nancy Cohen's story:

... now the economy has tanked states across the Northeast are facing historic deficits. That means far less money for land deals.

Kim Elliman is head of the Open State Institute, an organization that helps find money for land conservation projects across the East, from Georgia to Maine.

“The public shortfall in funding for land conservation has all but brought land conservation transactions to a full stop,” said Elliman.

Thanks to Connecticut Environmental Headlines for the heads-up. I also posted this, by the way, on my rarely-updated and much-neglected work blog, The Four Corners.

** Here's what I'm talking about, from a chapter called "Life in the Wilderness":

In the solitude of the great Wilderness, where I have passed months at a time, generally alone, or with only my dog to keep me company, airy nothings became sensible; and, in the silence of those nights in the forest, the whisperings of the night wind through the trees forced meanings on the expecting ear. I came to hear voices in the air, words so clearly spoken that even an incredulous mind could not ignore them. I sat in my boat one evening, out on the lake, watching the effects of the sky between the gaunt pines which, under the prevalence of the west winds, grew up with an easterly inclination of their tops, like that of a man walking, and thus seemed to be marching eastward into the gathering darkness. They gave a sudden impression of a procession, and I heard as distinctly as I evei heard human speech, a voice in the air which said "the procession of the Anakim." Over and over again, as I sat alone by my camp-fire at night, dreaming awake, I have heard a voice from across the lake calling me to come over and fetch it, and one night I rowed my boat in the darkness more than a mile, to find no one. Watching for deer from a treetop one day, in broad sunlight, and looking over a mountain range, along the crest of which were pointed firs and long level ridges of rock in irregular alternation, the eerie feeling suddenly came over me, and the mountain-top seemed a city with spires and walls, and I heard bands of music, and then hunting-horns coming down with the wind, and there was a perfect illusion of the sound of a hunting party hurrying down into the valley, which gave me a positive panic, as if I were being pursued and must run. I remember also on another occasion a transformation—transfiguration rather—of the entire landscape in colors, such as neither Titian nor Turner ever has shown me. It was a glorification of nature such as I had never conceived and cannot now comprehend.



Blogger Christopher Zurcher said...

Hi Tom, I found another story on land preservation on the website today that you and your readers might be interested in. I posted it on my blog.

2:16 PM  

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