PRFA Happenings — Winter 2004

PRFA Achieves Ten-year Landmark

In January 11, 2004, the Property Rights Foundation of America reached the Tenth Anniversary of its incorporation. Co-founded by Carol W. LaGrasse, Bruce Dederick, and Robert G. Prentiss, PRFA was dedicated from the beginning to preserving private property and defending private property rights. Based in Stony Creek in upstate New York, the organization immediately built on experience and knowledge of this state, most notably the overlapping juggernaut of land designations and restrictions that was developing on a regional, state, federal and international level. UNESCO Biosphere Reserves became an immediate target. It helped that PRFA was well-established when the threat of a Catskill Mountains Biosphere Reserve loomed. Unlike the designation the Adirondack Champlain region, the Catskill reserve could not be achieved by stealth, and Congressman Jerry Solomon played an important part in its defeat.

The work against National Heritage Areas also got off to an early start. New York women from PRFA were the first to testify in Congress against a National Heritage Area, in this case, that proposed for the Hudson River. PRFA’s work continued against the National Park Service’s abuses of local communities and local culture, and finally PRFA’s national work became as diversified as the range of property rights issues affecting property owners today, with its active participants ranging from Florida and Maine to California, Alaska, and Hawaii. PRFA’s greatest strength is based in New York, however, with half of the participants located in this state.

Because of PRFA’s dedication to preserving land in private hands, the issue of conservation easements stood out early as a PRFA involvement. PRFA’s publications on this issue continue to be urgently sought by individuals and organizations across the nation. A unique aspect of PRFA is the scope of issues where the publications and web site provide information, as wide ranging as eminent domain, conservation easements, wetlands infringements, zoning and building codes, and citizen organizing. Not only do these many issue areas serve a great range of individuals and communities, but their emphasis by PRFA brings out the commonality of the theme that is the basis of such a multitude of government excesses — the infringement on fundamental private property rights. This is PRFA’s standard. Until this nation reverses its tendency toward all-powerful government and socialism, individuals and communities will suffer. Property Rights must be restored in their fullness, just as our nation’s Founders understood this fundamental guarantee of freedom.

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