RALLY! — Jeff Conti

Anyone looking for injections of enthusiasm and creative ideas in the world of land conservation needs to head to the Land Trust Alliance annual Rally – better known as RALLY! The 2017 Rally convened at the Denver Convention Center from October 26th-28th for a weekend of workshops, presentations and connections. As someone relatively new to the practitioners’ world of land trusts, the communal dedication to a singular goal really stood out.

I was in Denver in order to learn more about creative angles to investigate for my project with UCross. A group of landowners in the Midwest recently reacquired their land after it been split up into multiple plots. The cost of this reacquisition is, to say the least, prohibitive. But, as many others across the US are feeling, the last thing they want to do is develop the beautiful, open land that has been in their family for 6 generations. They are looking for ways to both preserve the family land that they love, and keep it affordable. That’s where I come in. How can this goal best be accomplished?

There could not have been a better place to scout for ideas than at Rally 2017. From workshops titled Anatomy of a Land Deal to Agricultural Easement Program Success Stories, there were a multitude of directions from which to come at this problem. Is a run of the mill land easement the answer, or do we have the capability to work up some stream mitigation credits? My landowners emphasize that they are interested in creative ideas, and in this due diligence phase of research there are a myriad of ways to get creative. Of particular interest was a workshop on using the California carbon market as a source of additional income. While not all of these ideas will necessarily come to fruition, I’m fortunate enough to be a part of figuring out what works and why.

The next step is to take what I’ve absorbed and continue on conducting research and making calls with people I met and other industry experts. I’m looking forward to making all the pieces of the puzzle fit.