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.
Web site: prfamerica.org
Thank you for your commitment to the Property Rights Foundation of America's long-range work to defend our freedoms.
Almost ten years ago, when the corporate foundation to establish PRFA was about to be placed, it was apparent that, in addition to taking on the challenges to property rights that were well-recognized, we should pursue certain issues that were unnoticed by the big conservative organizations and almost all of the property rights groups.
PRFA took the lead in bringing the dangers of land designations to the national forefront with our work to expose the danger and extent of National Heritage Areas and UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, as well as other, often-overlapping, designations.
Still continuing this cutting edge work, just a few weeks ago PRFA published an article exposing to national attention for the first time the incipient proposal to create the UNESCO Chicago Biosphere Reserve. Our article has been widely circulated, redistributed, and discussed. Knowledge of this proposal quickly became so widespread that last week a talk show host excitedly asked me, "Have you heard about the outlandish proposal for a UN Biosphere Reserve for the City of Chicago?!"
With the issue of conservation easements, PRFA's early opposition to this threat to private land ownership was far outside of the interest areas of all but a few other concerned individuals here in New York and around the country. But between four and five years ago, concern began to mount, as the impact of the aggressive pursuit of conservation easements hit the forest, ranch and farm industries, as well as property owners on the periphery of expanding suburbs.
Today, concern about conservation easements is widespread and intense. PRFA's readily available publications and web postings on the subject are reaping dividends. Many people and organizations around the country are working in an effective, loose network to oppose conservation easements.
The latest fruits of this opposition are exciting. In February, a bill was introduced into the Montana legislature to regulate conservation easements and prohibit their use to restrict resource-based production. Just a few weeks later, the Wyoming legislature voted to reject a bill that would have enacted the Uniform Conservation Easement Act.
Both of these legislative actions are firsts. Let us work to see that they herald a reversal of the tide that was flowing almost inexorably toward the eradication of fee simple property ownership throughout America's open rural lands.
But it is not just in our influence to help set certain important agendas of the property rights movement where PRFA has been recognized. I personally believe that there is a subtler aspect of PRFA that is at least equally important.
It has been said that the best thing about PRFA is accessibility.
Maybe you have had the experience of writing, telephoning or e-mailing an organization that is reputed to have vast knowledge and influence about a certain issue. You have waited, left additional messages, written repeat e-mails...No reply ever came.
People sometimes say that the experience of contacting PRFA is exactly the opposite of the situation that they have faced with their previous efforts to reach out for help. Repeatedly, people express their appreciation for the quality of personal replies and pre-printed publications that they receive after contacting PRFA.
This is a paramount way that the knowledge amassed by PRFA is multiplied. If a person is willing to defend his or her constitutional private property rights, or if a person is trying to advance private property rights in the local community or wider region, this presents a priceless opportunity to extend the cause of freedom while directly helping this individual.
Thanks to our generous supporters over the years, we have been able to publish a wealth of material that is readily available to quickly mail out, supplementing the vast array of information instantly available on PRFA's web site.
Every day, several packets of PRFA publications go out as a result of special requests, bolstering and expanding the horizons and effectiveness of grassroots activists and individuals facing assaults on their rights.
I wish that I could convey to you how gratifying it is to be able to so easily send out this material. This is an achievement that, literally, you and I have brought to fruition over so many years of our devotion to the cause of private property rights.
Our work is "paying off," so to speak, in many ways. Even though we and others after us will have to continue this quest to preserve freedom, considering the growth of government and the power of bureaucracy, we are making a great difference, both on the scale of national policy and at the level where people experience freedom or suffer from the lack of it in their daily lives.
As you know, this is not a large or wealthy organization. But we are well-grounded and have an inner strength. We are a true voluntary alliance of many individuals working together to defend private property rights, with the best creativity and resources that we can bring to the effort.
If you are able to contribute to PRFA at this time, your generosity would be much appreciated and make a great difference. If you have recently contributed, I hope that you will enjoy the sentiments in this letter, and realize how much your kindness is appreciated. I hope that you will find the enclosed article of interest.