and to allow others to appreciate
these lands by immersing them
in a natural, pristine environment
that they have helped create;
all while maintaining an
and environmentally sound enterprise.
— Steven Whitney, Founder
To preserve Western Lands means to keep them out of the hands of developers and back in the hands of nature. To accomplish this, all we need to do is purchase land and simply not sell it. On territories dedicated for preservation, we don't build anything on the land, and if we don't sell it, no one else will. We could buy land and do NOTHING with it, and we would be accomplishing this objective, since the land will remain in the hands of nature.
To be clear, we may sell some of the lands we purchase, but always to obtain better land with the money. While treeless hills covered in sagebrush are worth protecting, we find that gorgeous mountain streams ringed by shrubbery to be more our focus. But that does not mean we won't be protecting those types of western lands. If WLP ever sells any of its land, that would be the exception.
Most of WLP's lands will be dedicated to preservation. A rough estimate would be around 60-70 percent. As mentioned above, these lands will be maintained in their natural state, and nature will be allowed to run its course.
To restore Western Lands is to rebuild regions that may have been affected by human influence. Perhaps unnecessary roads have been sliced into the terrain, or roaming cattle stock have damaged the local flora. Whatever the cause, lands designated for restoration will see the majority of Badger Buys accomplished here. Trees will be replaced, fences will keep away the cattle, and invasive species (weeds) will be swiftly dispatched.
Not all lands which we may restore have to be directly affected by humans. Planting trees comes at no cost to the land it is planted on. And the vast majority of lands are indirectly affected by humans. Certain states, like Wyoming, are open range, meaning cattle can wander across any land they like, sometimes overgrazing or trampling plants in spots they like. And many lands see introduction of invasive species.
Restoration is tricky, since there exists a fine line between something being harmful or helpful to the land. We promise to be as scrupulous as possible in our restoration projects. About 20-30% of WLP lands will be dedicated to restoration.
The most nebulous objective of the three, to appreciate Western Lands means allowing others to visit and enjoy some of the lands we have preserved and restored. This would be in the form of hiking trails, picnic tables, and campgrounds. And as a bigger vision, it could also mean resorts, lodges, and various activities like boating, skiing, and rock climbing. Read our Vision for the big picture goals of this objective.
It may seem like a contradiction to protect our lands from human development, but then to go ahead and develop on them ourselves. Yes, we are exerting influence on the lands we build on, but we are not destroying them. There will be no widespread felling of trees or displacement of animals, because those things are the focus of our developments. We build on our land to allow others to appreciate the land itself, not to expand human infrastructure.
As we focus more on land acquisition in these early stages, none of our land is being dedicated to appreciation. But as we grow bigger, expect about 10% of our land to be committed to this objective.