Reevaluating the Role of Acquisition-Based Strategies in the Greater Historic Preservation Movement

58 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2016

Date Written: September 12, 2016

Abstract

Historic preservation and land conservation advocates have traditionally had similar goals, organizational structures, and even somewhat comingled histories when it comes to their efforts to protect the built and natural environment. Despite these striking similarities, a meaningful gap in practice has developed as to how the disciplines approach their respective resource challenges. Land conservation groups largely default to acquisition-based strategies in order to ensure the perpetual protection of targeted conservation tracts – most commonly through the use of conservation easements. Historic preservation advocates, however, are much less likely to rely on acquisition – relying instead on regulatory controls, site-specific advocacy, and incentive payments. This Article explores the explanations for this divergence – institutional, structural, and financial. Ultimately, understanding the roots of how the land conservation and historic preservation movements have come to approach their work so differently can provide meaningful insight into both fields and provide a lens for exploring, in particular, the comparatively limited role that affirmative resource protection efforts play in modern preservation practice.

Keywords: historic preservation, easement, conservation easement, land trust, land conservation, preservation easement

Suggested Citation

Phelps, Jess R., Reevaluating the Role of Acquisition-Based Strategies in the Greater Historic Preservation Movement (September 12, 2016). Virginia Environmental Law Journal, Vol. 34, No. 399, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2837790

Jess R. Phelps (Contact Author)

The Lyme Timber Company LP ( email )

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