Trust for Public Land To Assist Caspar
The Trust for Public Land , a nationally recognized conservation organization, has agreed to assist the Caspar Community in its efforts to preserve Caspar for future generations.
Andrew Vesselinovitch, representing the Trust for Public Land (TPL), confirmed that he has begun negotiations with the Oscar Smith, principal of the Caspar Cattle Company. He said that TPL is seeking an option on all of the Company's Caspar holdings, excluding the land already slated for acquisition by the California Coastal Conservancy. Once an option is secured, TPL will work with governmental agencies, legislators, foundations and the Caspar Community to secure funds with which to purchase the land.
Residents of Caspar, who have been working on a community plan and seeking funding assistance for 18 months, were enthusiastic about TPL's involvement. Michael Potts said, " I think TPL is exactly what both community and the landowner need -- an organization with the expertise and resources to arrange financing and ownership transfer as a single, coordinated operation."
Judy Tarbell, who was instrumental in getting TPL interested in the Caspar project, added "The Trust for Public Land was our first choice. They have an excellent record for honoring the wishes of local constituents. They have the resources to help us carry forward our planning process. And, because they are a private trust, they can lobby legislators as well as foundations for funding."
Meridian Green, another founding member, echoed Tarbell's approval of TPL, adding, "Now it is important for us to keep working on the details of our hundred-year vision, and to create local financing to make sure our vision can be realized."
Vesselinovitch first announced TPL's intention to seek an option on the land at the monthly Caspar Community meeting on Sunday, March 14. He emphasized that TPL was taking on the Caspar project in large part because of the dedicated and organized effort the community has been making to help itself.
The Trust for Public Land was founded in 1972 to offer the tools and expertise required by landowners, citizen groups, and government agencies to conserve land, improve the quality of life, and protect natural and historical resources. TPL seldom buys land, but acts as an intermediary between land owners, government agencies, and foundations.
TPL has been instrumental in high profile conservation projects across the country, including Walden Woods in Concord, Massachusetts, and Denali National Park in Alaska. TPL often works with the California Coastal Conservancy. TPL and the Coastal Conservancy recently conveyed ownership of 3,700 acres of the Lost Coast to a coalition of eleven Native American tribes to create the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Park. Since 1972 TPL has saved 169,829 acres worth $374,753,612 in its Western region, which includes California, Nevada, and Hawai'i.
Vesselinovitch works in TPL's San Francisco office, and is responsible for projects in California. In an interview, Vesselinovitch was guarded in his comments, citing the need to be conservative at this stage of the negotiations. "I am speaking with the landowner's representative, and we at the Trust for Public Lands are researching funding, both public and private. That will be the key next step," he said.
Up-to-date information on Caspar and the land deal will be available first at the Caspar Community website. For more information, call Pat Ackley, Caspar Community Coordinator, at 964-4997.
written by Michael Potts and Vince Taylor