During Bust, Green Groups Make Land Grab

Conservationists snatch idle land from developers' hands
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2008 12:19 PM CST
This undated photo released by The Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit U.S. land conservation group, shows a beach of the Estate Maho Bay, in the north coast of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. A large swath...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – As the subprime debacle rips through real estate, leveling home values and clogging the market with unsold property, an unlikely group of vultures is descending, reports Newsweek. Conservation groups and local governments alike, which sat on the bench during the last boom, are snapping up land from would-be developers to preserve for a rainy day as public land.

"It's in this nub of a downturn that the opportunities really present themselves," said one  exec with Trust for Public Land, which is buying tracts of land nationwide to preserve. But the window may soon close: Public funds will dry up as the economic downturn further erodes the tax base. "The pressure is there to not miss the opportunity," said another expert.