Sunday, February 3, 2008

Loving the land

A friend and I were talking today about people who value land for more than its development potential.

It made me go back to the Saving the Sierra website to read again about Attilio Genasci. Attilio was a rancher in the Sierra Valley who led a movement to protect large areas of the Sierra Valley through the use of conservation easements. I learned last week that he had passed away at age 98. He lived his entire life on his land.

You can hear Attilio in his own words on the Saving the Sierra site. Here are some of them:

"The land does not belong to me. The land belongs to future generations, and the land also belongs to the general public. ... It’s one of the natural wonders. It’s there for humanity. And we dare not destroy it anymore than we’d cap the geysers in Yellowstone or put the Bridal Veil Falls of Yosemite in a pipe. I think we have a natural wonder here that I’ll do my best to preserve."

There's also a story about Attilio on the Stories from the Heart of the Land website. It'll be aired on National Public Radio's Weekend America show next Saturday, February 9.

Reading about Attilio, I am reminded of Stanley Cuneo, who was the first rancher in this area to put his land in conservation easements. He co-founded the local land trust and was a longtime Foothill Conservancy member and supporter.

Whenever I hear that only urban enviros want to preserve rural lands, I think of men like these, who clearly had a deep and abiding love for the land they called home.

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