Ownership Rights (Susanne Hickey, Loess Hills Conservationist)
Susanne Hickey, Loess Hills Project Director for the Nature Conservancy, talks about how managing tourism and mining will lend themselves to the success of working landscapes.
Transcript: Ownership Rights
Should a private landowner be able to do anything he wants with his land? I think the question to that anymore unfortunately is no. And I say unfortunately because I know that private landowners worked hard to purchase their land. Maybe it's been land that's been in their family for generations and they feel as if they should be able to do what they want and what they feel is best for their given piece of property. But we live in a world now that has a lot of people that are putting a lot of pressure on our land, our natural areas. And we now have to be cognizant of what we do with that piece of property and how that affects the community. And so a landowner should take into consideration how his use of his property impacts his neighbor, impacts the community that he lives in. And sometimes I believe the community value or the value that a community places on a given area outweighs a private landowners rights. Having said that, we've got to respect the fact that 95% of the land in the Loess Hills is privately owned. And I think what we need to do is provide incentives to private landowners so that they don't get backed into a corner where they have to use their land or sell their land or develop their land in a way that is not sustainable in the long run. Whether that's providing financial assistance or educational assistance or technical assistance, we've got to come up with a way that private landowners can still retain certain rights, still love and own the land, but conserve it into the future.