Land. They're not making any more of it, but there are more and more people. Virginia's population in particular has mushroomed. It grew more than 50 percent from 4.6 million in 1970 to about 7.1 million in 2000.
Such growth is flattering, even enviable, but it strains on our land resources. It necessitates careful planning and intelligent conservation. There are special places here, lands that have witnessed America's greatest human triumphs and tragedies. Our state's open spaces, farms, parks, battlefields and other areas of cultural significance attract people from around the globe. Virginia's natural habitats, some found nowhere else on earth, provide homes to some extraordinary plant and animal inhabitants as well.
Few would argue that Virginia's natural and cultural resources are less than astonishing. With such unmatched resources, however, comes responsibility; the responsibility to conserve and protect these special places for future generations. That's where you come in.
As a landowner, you can establish a permanent conservation easement on your open space land, protecting the unique natural, historic, recreational, scenic and cultural resources of Virginia. Or, you can donate all or some of your land to a state agency, local government, land trust or conservation organization. In doing so, not only do you assure the protection of the land for future generations, but you also may qualify for substantial tax benefits. See tax advantages, incentives and laws related to land conservation for details.