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Editorial: We have valuable, critical real estate

Fire didn’t stop Land Conservancy from saving a significant Warrenton parcel

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Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2013 10:40 am

The North Coast Land Conservancy is a good example of how locally based nonprofits are able to quietly, yet effectively, safeguard legacy lands for today and for future generations.

As our story this week detailed, NCLC closed a deal with Clatsop County Nov. 29 to preserve a uniquely prime area of coastal spruce swamp adjacent to Camp Kiwanilong and Fort Stevens State Park in Warrenton. And NCLC isn’t letting a traumatic fire at its office on Dec. 5 get in the way of adding 66 acres of private land just north of the recently acquired county land.

This upcoming purchase really highlights the importance of good citizens in looking after our area’s heritage. Bob White, of White’s Heating and Sheet Metal in Seaside, owns the land and was inspired by Neal Maine, retired director of the NCLC, who was his biology teacher and football coach in the 1960s.

“I’ve really admired him for what he’s done, so we wanted to make this happen for him and NCLC,” White said. “They’ve got a lot of energetic and knowledgeable people.”

A believer in NCLC’s mission, White bought the land in 2005, but now sees it better used for the nonprofit’s conservation efforts. “It’s nice working with them,” he said.

Both White and Maine deserve a big community commendation for what they’re doing.

It is a truism that you can’t save everything, and when it comes to coastal land, few would want to. America’s coastal counties are some of the most valuable and environmentally critical real estate of the planet. In coming decades, population growth will inordinately take place in the coastal zone. Now is the time to set aside the parks, playgrounds and wilderness that will recharge, refresh and nurture our grandchildren and their descendents.

The NCLC is a model for how communities can shape their own future.

Also on the subject of wilderness, Congress is so tied up in partisan knots that even Republican-sponsored additions to the nation’s inventory of protected wild lands are stalled. It is time for President Barack Obama to make use of the 1906 Antiquities Act to designate a number of these wilderness areas as national monuments. Included are areas in Oregon.

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