Property Rights Foundation of America®

28. (The) Conservation Fund
(Latest update 2001)

1800 N. Kent Street
Arlington, VA 22209
(202) 522-8008

Newsletter Common Ground
940 Stillwater Lane
Earlyville, VA 22936
(804) 973-7324
Web page:

Key Personnel

Patrick F. Noonan, Chairman
John F. Turner, President [Note: 2001 - being considered for a high post in the Bush Administration, because of connection to Vice President Cheney]
Mike McQueen, Editor, Common Ground

(In 1991, according to Ron Arnold, The Conservation Fund had 19 contractual professional employees, including a general counsel, 2 attorneys, real estate director, ecological assessor, director of Civil War Battlefield Campaign, Western Greenways representative, New England representative, and various scientists, biologists and others.)



Finances (1997)

Income: $23,188,083
Assets: $105,809,594
Files an IRS 990

Coalition Involvements

Adirondack Nature Conservancy/Adirondack Land Trust
American Farmland Trust
National Park Service
Richard K. Mellon Foundation
The Nature Conservancy

Organization Goals

The Conservation Fund is a land conservancy which acquires land for transfer to the government for preservation purposes. The organization is wealthy enough that it is able to sometimes donate the property to government.

The Conservation Fund was created as an offspring of The Nature Conservancy in 1980. The leap by TNC director Patrick Noonan's to his new foundation was possible with Mellon money because of his connection with Mason Walsh, Jr., Chief Counsel for the Richard K. Mellon Foundation. Two important emphases of The Conservation Fund have been on acquiring land to expand battlefield preserves and create greenways.

It should be kept in mind that Noonan's great contribution to the land trust movement was that he took TNC from its days of preserving individual nature preserves to the acquisition of large tracts for transfer to government for protection of biodiversity. It is to be expected that biodiversity protection is the prime motivation behind The Conservation Fund's acquisitions.

Board of Directors

Patrick F. Noonan, Chairman


(1) Greenway acquisition in Warren County

After the initial involvement of The Nature Conservancy, it was The Conservation Fund and the Richard King Mellon Foundation which executed the actual acquisition of the valuable Niagara Mohawk floodplain lands on the east side of the Hudson in Warrensburg opposite Stony Creek and Thurman. Judging by various conversations, this was a forced sale required for an APA subdivision permit needed by Ni Mo to dispose of the floodplain lands made useless for water storage for energy production purposes because of the declaration of the Hudson as a Wild and Scenic River. In spite of valuable timber that could be harvested, NiMo sold this land at a far lower price per acre than land without timber on the opposite side of the river.

The foundations donated the land to the government. In typical greenway fashion, even though there is vacant forested land in every direction, the land became a park, and the historic town road along the road was closed.


(1) Books

The Conservation Fund has sponsored the publication of a number of books which have been set out agendas in the greenway and preservation areas. One such influential book is Greenways for America by Charles E. Little (The John Hopkins University Press (1990), with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Rockefellers' American Conservation Association. The best greenways are along streams and are viewed as environmental corridors.

(2) Newsletter

The Conservation Fund published a high-quality bi-monthly newsletter, Common Ground, which is available upon request. Topics in a recent newsletter included a call for unity, advocacy for more money in the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the best summary of any organization of the current land acquisition fund bills before Congress, reportage on $4.5 million newly available for greenways and trails in Florida in a $3 billion land and water program, acid deposition legislation needed in Virginia, urban sprawl, and many other topics.

(3) Leadership Courses

Recent courses include "Conserving Agricultural Lands," "GIS Overview for Community-Based Natural Resource Conservation," and "Conserving Endangered Species on Nonfederal Lands."

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