P.O. Box 75, Stony Creek, New York 12878 - 518/696-5748
The right to own private property is a fundamental American freedom that
guarantees personal liberty and promotes economic prosperity.
Thank you for your help with the ambitious outreach this year by the Property Rights Foundation of America to promote and defend our fundamental private property rights.
We have finally reached the threshold where PRFA has a full program of outreach on a scale that is truly significant! Since January 1, we have easily passed half a million "hits" on our web site. It now has just about 500 "pages" of information. We are privileged to answer numerous e-mails every day from people all over the country about a range of topics related to property rights from greenways to eminent domain.
Our inaugural programs are undiminished, and are on sounder financial footing than they have ever been, thanks to your generous help. Next year will be the seventh year of publication of the New York Property Rights Clearinghouse and Positions on Property.
In answer to questions about whether we intend to substitute the web site for our publications the answer is, absolutely not, we are not decreasing our hard copy publications in favor of the web site, but are increasing the quantity and quality of our publications even more! The two modes of communication are complementary. Both are needed.
Our publications continue to have impact. Just last week, a nearly full-page spread appeared in The Saratogian, the daily newspaper serving an area just northeast of the New York State Capitol. The illustrated article was stimulated by the lead story in the latest issue of the Clearinghouse about the proposed Canalway Trail that the National Park Service, New York State Canal Corporation and the New York Parks and Conservation Association are quietly preparing to push through government and private land. The first major coverage of the proposed Canalway Trail, this article raised a public controversy by addressing the private property rights concerns of landowners.
After missing the annual conference during the bleak fall of 2001, this November we indeed held our very successful Sixth Annual New York Conference on Private Property Rights. According to participants, it was an inspiring and very informative gathering.
"Many thanks for your wonderful meeting, bittersweet as the message was. We stayed to eat and talk far into the evening," wrote a property rights activist from Virginia afterwards.
"I just wanted to take a moment to let you know that Saturday's conference was very interesting and consciousness raising," wrote a nurse from New York who had never before attended a property rights event. She became thoroughly engrossed in Robert J. Smith's "ornithological discourse" on private conservation.
When he stepped to the podium to begin his keynote address, "R J" Smith, the President of the Center for Private Conservation in Washington, D.C., told the gathering that the next conference should be named the "Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights!"
After all, he said, prominent speakers came, as always, from all over the country. In addition to the penetrating and inspiring speakers from New York, several speakers were from Washington, D.C., most notably, Tom Bethell, Senior Editor of The American Spectator, who delivered the intellectually breathtaking opening address on private property rights in the course of history, the topic of his acclaimed book The Noblest Triumph.
Prof. Jonathan Reisman came from the University of Maine to deliver a devastatingly realistic speech on "Rural Cleansing in the State of Maine" and J. Zane Walley of the Paragon Foundation flew across the country from New Mexico to talk about how conservation easements are the latest style of land grab.
Sean McKeon came from across the state border to relate how the members of the Vermont Traditions group are joining loggers, sportsmen, and other property owners together to defend private property ownership. Matt Bennett from Maryville, Tennessee, gave an address about The Wildlands Program that drove home to me why this excellent communicator's web site has dumbfounded the extreme environmentalists.
Our conference attendees came from Virginia and Pennsylvania to Massachusetts and Maine. But and this is where the web site shines the e-mails through our web site requesting specific property rights information in just one recent day came from Illinois, Missouri, New York, and Virginia. The daily visitors to the web site come from across the country and from countries around the world.
Here are some of the e-mails sent on a recent day in appreciation for replies to inquiries:
"Wow, what a quick response!" from a property rights activist in response to a reply to her inquiry about how to effectively write to a Senator.
"Thanks again, as this is something of real concern to me and many others in this area." from a man asking about carrying firearms within a National Park.
"A big thank-you. You are very caring and dedicated. I really admire that." from a landowner inquiring about posting "no trespassing" signs.
Our web site has resulted in new, energetic participants in the work of PRFA who are making a difference in many states. With PRFA's posted and published information, they should have a good footing on which to build their work! The idea is that these many independent, creative citizens will become knowledgeable activists, with great combined influence on the basis of principle.
This is the Season of Hope. The New Year is ahead... And, quite realistically, there is even a new Congress. Our work, along with that of many other organizations that share our cause, is very influential. It only stands to reason that as we draw in others to join their efforts to ours, we will be increasingly successful in promoting private property rights.
Once again, I'd like to ask you to contribute generously to the Property Rights Foundation of America. With the exception of our extremely low fund-raising and administrative costs, all of your contribution goes to the direct expenses for PRFA's publications, web site, the conference, and other programs. We also desire your ideas and information for PRFA and rely on and appreciate your participation in every way.
With my very best wishes for this Season and for the New Year.