If I've learned anything through the recent research on "Lands Conservancy" groups and the "Trails" and "Greenway" groups, it is that they have no elected authority, yet they are controlling local governments in every, yes, I mean every, square inch of the United States. I've used the analogy before, that they are like a plague of locusts who have descended upon our land. The more I find out about them, the more that analogy applies.
Three things make this unethical and predatory land grab work. One is that the folks behind these schemes are very good salespersons. They are schooled in all the right buzz words and, when performing in front of City and County councils, they speak of "sustainability," "livability," "connectivity," "land Protection," "preserving natural environments," "community involvement," etc. They are also very good at doing the CYA dance, taking no responsibility whatsoever for the taking of land, dropping all of the responsibility onto the local governments. In short, they are public relations experts, but won't do the maintenance or the land taking themselves. It's a very clever con.
The second thing that makes this land grab work is the lack of understanding of the local councils on exactly what the motives are behind it. Councils, mayors, and commissioners only hear the sales pitch. They are told about all of the magnificent natural qualities of their local environment and how important it is to preserve those natural qualities. You could not possibly disagree with that, now could you? Next they are told everyone in their area wants access to all of the natural beauty around them. So, wouldn't it be just tragic to deny that access? Then they are told that the entire community wants preservation and conservation and protection of the land and resources. Gee, would you want to disagree with the entire community? Nevermind that there has been no referendum on the matter. The local government councils are also told that all of the adjoining counties are participating or seriously considering participation, so you would not want to be left out, now would you? Being flattered into thinking the local landscape is so valuable, and being pushed into the herd by these slick master salespersons, local governments are swallowing this sales pitch, hook, line, and sinker.
Next, the money starts flowing into the "planners" pockets. These are the folks who create maps of trails and land masses, over-laying trails and "open areas" onto private property. After that, the tax deduction ploy begins and the city or county starts going after the land owners. The tax deductions come from the Federal government where many agencies hand out grants and tax deductions for the purposes of "conservation," "watershed preservation," "protection of natural environments," "recreational access," and all of the aforementioned buzz words. Put tax deductions out there and let the frenzy begin.
Kathleen McCarthy's excellent article, Agenda 21 - The United Nations Taking Private Property Near You, explains how Agenda 21 is being implemented in your town and mine. I highly recommend it. She writes:
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How’s this for a conspiracy theory? A global agenda, unveiled in 1992 during the United Nations Conference on Environment & Development (UNCED, also known as the Rio Earth Summit), that is being progressively implemented in every level of government in America through a United Nations (UN) initiative called Sustainable Development Agenda 21. Agenda 21, as it is referred to in the UN’s own documentation (UN.org/esa/sustdev/documents/agenda21), is “a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally, and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts [sic] on the environment.”
Its purpose: to centrally own and control the planet’s resources under the guise of “smart planning” and “sustainable development.” In fact, for most UN-accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Agenda 21 is synonymous with sustainable development.
The two primary goals of Agenda 21 are to (1) decrease the world population to “sustainable” levels as a means to effectively control labor, the planet’s number-one resource, and (2) eradicate individual property rights via comprehensive land-use planning that dictates land use according to a global master plan that includes control of everything from food to health to energy to security, and the list goes on.