It is interesting to note how the United States’ approach to Colorado land conservation has changed over the last 100 years.
From 1901-1909, Theodore Roosevelt believed that the Federal Government knew best how to protect and conserve America’s natural resources. T.R. viewed conservation as essentially a battle between himself (the Federal Government) and the private sector (the timber barons and mining industry).
Fast forward to the 1980s: Thanks to the emergence of conservation easements as a viable method of conserving land in perpetuity, private citizens, and even big corporations have the ability to conserve property more effectively than even the government. While there is always the chance that the government could sell portions of its forest reserves to timber or mining companies as a quick way to produce revenue, land that has been protected by an easement is protected forever.
One can only speculate, but I would guess that T.R. would be a big fan of conservation easements as a tool to preserve American landscapes.
As a person with both a professional and personal interest in Colorado land conservation, I highly recommend The Wilderness Warrior. It’s a monster of a book but is packed full of great information. Anyone who is interested in the history of Colorado land conservation should definitely invest some time and read it.