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Cultivating Trusts
Interested in land conservation? Tired of compromising your stewardship principles? Explore a career with a land trust.
By Sandra Tassel

A golf course development with 220 houses was too much for Fair Acres Farm, and too much for landscape architect Ralph Goodno. Fair Acres was a rural, 200-acre equestrian facility on the banks and in the floodplain of Connecticut’s winding Housatonic River, close to the tranquil village of Salisbury. Goodno had seen the farm during his hikes on the Appalachian Trail, where the trail crests a nearby ridge and looks out over the verdant river valley. In the course of volunteer work through his local ASLA chapter, Goodno had prepared an Appalachian Trail viewshed assessment for the Housatonic Valley Association that identified Fair Acres as a protection priority.

The Arizona Open Land Trust negotiated with landowners to acquire the 750-acre parcel shown here and add it to the Tucson Mountain Park.
David Freshwater

Then he found himself on his firm’s planning team, working for the Fair Acres’ developer.

To accommodate the physical challenges posed by the floodplain and the limitations likely to be set by area planners, Goodno’s team recommended a conservation-oriented design for Fair Acres that not only was more ecologically defensible but also would have saved the owners the expense of bringing in tons of fill to raise homesites out of the high-water zone, which occupied nearly two-thirds of the property. When the developers rejected the less destructive alternative and demanded a plan that reflected their original concept, Goodno knew he had to find other employment.

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