P.O. Box 75, Stony Creek, New York 12878 - 518/696-5748
Founded 1994

The right to own private property is a fundamental American freedom that
guarantees personal liberty and promotes economic prosperity.


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December 1, 2003

Dear Friend,

The Property Rights Foundation of America will reach its Tenth Anniversary next year. From New York to Maine, Florida, Alaska, California and Hawaii, many wonderful, generous, hard-working supporters and activists have brought us to this milestone!

Please accept my heartfelt thanks for helping our grassroots organization to hold fast in spite of countless obstacles and grow to national significance over these ten years!

Working together, we have played a very important part in restoring private property rights to the national consciousness after decades of decline. We have moved the issues of land designations to the forefront, issues such as Heritage Areas and Biosphere Reserves, that were obscurely taking their toll on property rights in many localities. We have demonstrated the common thread in these routes to obstructive government control of land, whether innocent-sounding Scenic Byways, recreational trails, or watershed designations.

But we have not only raised awareness of the dangerous significance of recreational, scenic, and preservationist land designations. We are also helping to defeat many of these designations. Working with grassroots groups, we provide honest, practical information, especially using the web site, that arms and strengthens the resolve of isolated individuals and new local property rights groups, and helps them to be victorious in defending their property.

Property owners constantly e-mail and telephone for advice about strategy. They request PRFA publications on zoning and other land use restrictions, and citizens' strategies for defending private property rights.

This fall, a woman telephoned PRFA after a government contractor working on canal redevelopment bulldozed the trees on her property. She wrote:

"Hope you are very successful in educating and protecting the private property rights of the ordinary citizen like me who have no one else to speak to them and prevent agencies from destroying the rights of us to enjoy our own private property and use it for our homes."

- Lois Simmons

Citizens are becoming empowered. An exciting trend is that property rights activists who have worked with PRFA are running for office and defeating incumbents who were taking away their rights. The losing officials had supported zoning and had worked with the National Park Service and non-profits to institute trails through private property.

This year, activists and legislators in Wyoming, Montana, California, New York, and other states called to task the extreme preservationists who are attempting to tie up rural land with conservation easements. Just a few years ago, we were virtually alone as we stood for the preservation of private property in all its fullness, not as a fraction of the original fee title. Only one other person, Jim Burling of Pacific Legal Foundation, also questioned perpetual conservation easements. Now we are joined by many thousands of individuals who have heard about the dangers of conservation easements through PRFA publications, the web site, and other outreach.

We who work together through PRFA form a great chain of knowledge and information on the subject of conservation easements. For years, people with only an incomplete xerox copy of our original publication on zoning and building codes have telephoned, happy to have located the source. Now they track down the source of the original conservation easement publication by PRFA, which is still pertinent, reprinted a third time.

But what a battle we face! Land designations continue apace. Wetland rules at federal, state, and local levels inundate property owners. Regional zoning agencies and federal and state land acquisition funds target rural economies. Watershed plans eliminate private property rights, to provide bounteous service to cities or to satisfy extreme preservationists. Irrespective of court rulings, state and local agencies continually attempt rails-to-trails "takings," backed surreptitiously by wealthy non-profits and the National Park Service.
Local zoning agencies mercilessly dissect the assets of property owners. Small landlords are victimized by village and city agencies with the power of arbitrary inspections and frivolous citations. Government agencies ravage thriving small communities and city centers by declaring them blighted to use eminent domain on behalf of private developers…And the list continues. The PRFA web site has over sixty topical indexes for information that we have posted to help private property owners.

One issue we had to add recently to the web site was local highways, after many e-mails asking for help drove home the fact that local government was widely abusing the rights of the politically unconnected to abandon old highways in favor of more powerful interests.

The extreme increase in overlapping jurisdictions is hurting property owners. A surprise attack by a different government agency often hits the property owner who has gotten an approval from the local zoning or building department. Last week a landowner who had cleared his intentions with the county planner called PRFA for help because of $50,000 fines being imposed for cutting trees in violation of the Delaware Wild and Scenic River rules.

Private property rights are the common element that must be restored to bring justice to the people across urban and rural America who face these many government infringements.
This will continue to be our unequivocal stance, as we begin our second decade together in defense of ordinary people faced with abusive government—overgrown government that has lost track of its constitutional underpinnings.

Your generous support makes our defense of private property rights possible. The work of the Property Rights Foundation of America to bring justice to people who own homes and property, and who would like to use their property on behalf of their families and businesses, can only be done because of donations like yours.

Please contribute as generously as you can to the Property Rights Foundation of America at this time. You have my heartfelt pledge that your generosity will be immensely respected and appreciated.
With best wishes,


Carol W. LaGrasse


A copy of the latest annual financial report of the Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc. may be obtained from the organization or from the Office of the Attorney General, Charities Bureau, 120 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10271.

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