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.