Let Land Lay Fallow Group Promotes Conservation Agreements with Tax Incentives
Zawislak, Mick, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Mick Zawislak Daily Herald Staff Writer
Despite the continuing march of development in Lake County, some land owners are more interested in memories than money.
The trick is letting them know there are alternatives.
That's the mission of a new effort launched by the Liberty Prairie Conservancy to protect open land through what is known as a conservation easement.
"Why would a landowner want to do that? They're assuring that land will always be - it won't be turned into a parking lot or a Wal-Mart," said Steve Barg, executive director of the Grayslake- based group.
These may be families who occupied land for generations and want to ensure the property remains undisturbed.
"The only people interested in putting conservation easements on their land are people who love their land and don't want to see it change," Barg said.
The private, nonprofit organization was founded in 1995 as an advocate to preserving a unique 5,800-acre area between Grayslake, Libertyville and Gurnee. Almost half of that stretch, known as the Liberty Prairie Reserve, is permanently protected.
While the focus has been caring for natural areas near its home base, the organization has evolved to become the first professionally staffed group dedicated to preserving land throughout Lake County.
That differs from public agencies, such the Lake County Forest Preserve District, which have many operations, or smaller volunteer efforts, such as the Land Conservancy of Lake County.
Land that may come under the realm of the Liberty Prairie Conservancy would be voluntarily donated for purchase. …