What, you really thought I'd simply have you go to Wikipedia and answer "Washington?" That would be too easy. But you know my interests. According to the most recent National Land Trust Census from 2010 there 1,700 land trusts in operation in the US. How much land do these trusts collectively protect?
How about 47 million acres. That is an amount of land just smaller than South Dakota and just larger than the state of Washington. The establishment of these land trusts is a very recent phenomenon. I posted earlier on Hawk Mountain which would be among the very first. The land preserved by land trusts has doubled in the last decade. Before President Reagan was elected there were less than 500 land trusts in operation. By 2000 there were 1200 of them in operation protecting 6.5 million acres of land.
We'll say more about these and other private conservation efforts shortly, including a discussion of my favorite: the Prairie Potholes and the Delta Waterfowl projects. For now, let us end with a quote from one of the fathers of the American Conservation movement – someone that I would NOT paint with the label, "E"nvironmentalist but rather an environmentalist.
“Public ownership can cover only a fraction of what needs to be done and then only awkwardly, expensively and with frequent clashes of interest”
“The basic problem is to induce the private landowner to conserve on his own land, and no conceivable millions or billions for land purchase can alter that fact, or the fact that so far he has not done it.”