Spring 2011 Newsletter

Our experiences on a recent trip to south Texas reinforced the importance of the synergy between working landscapes and conservation, our company’s mission since 1993.  To find out more about our company and our approach to rural land conservation please check out our inaugural e-newsletter.

As we drove south from San Antonio, we watched as the Texas landscape changed, becoming flatter, and the expanse of sky bigger.  As the sun set, the clouds that gathered over La Paloma Sola Ranch exploded with color and shapes rarely observed in the Piedmont of Virginia.  The ranch is a model for conservation and wildlife management, raising trophy deer while maintaining the south Texas plains for future generations.  John Gurasich wrote of his passion for the ranch and his family’s experiences learning how to be responsible stewards of the land.

La Paloma Sola

“La Paloma Sola has been a special place for our family for the last 25 years.  It has been a place to escape, spend time with friends, create lasting memories, and enjoy the wildlife.  The ranch is located in the rugged and wild brush country of Webb County, Texas.

South Texas is famous for producing incredible white tail deer.  Over the last 30 years there has been a transition in land use from cattle ranches to wildlife ranches.  The state helped this transition by introducing the Wildlife Tax Exemption, which recognizes wildlife management as an agricultural use.  Read more…

Bundoran Farm Conservation Community

Unique in both concept and execution, Bundoran Farm in Albemarle County, Virginia is described by the Urban Land Institute’s book Conservation Communities: Creating Value with Nature, Open Space, and Agriculture as a rural community that combines farmland and forest preservation with limited residential development.  Recognized by Audubon International as a Certified Gold Audubon Signature Sanctuary (the first in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the first working farm certified in the program) and consistent with the requirements of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, the plan for the 2,300 acres of Bundoran Farm maintains the farming operation while allowing for the careful placement of home sites. Verdant pasture, orchards, and well-managed forest interspersed with riding and walking trails as well as the spectacular views of the farm, the valleys, and the Ragged Mountains in the distance cultivate a sense of a place that is classically Piedmont and deeply rooted in local tradition.  Read more…

Cows, Plows, and Wildlife

As I visit with landowners across Texas, there is a common theme that eventually surfaces as we discuss the ins and outs of wildlife management. The question of whether or not landowners, particularly new landowners, should allow cattle to graze their property.  I have yet to find a consistent answer applicable to landowners as a whole. My usual response is to first give careful consideration to the condition of the property, and secondly to take into account the landowner’s goals.  Read more…

All the best,

Bob McKee

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