A chain of private parks on a landscape scale across the Western States being protected and restored, while allowing others to appreciate their natural beauty through hiking trails, campgrounds, and resorts.
— Steven Whitney, Founder
Imagine . . .
You're on a road trip, somewhere in the Western United States. As you traverse the interstate highway, you find yourself out in what one might call "the sticks." Rolling hills sweep beside you, their sagebrush green accented with more vibrant hues of flowers as they rise into majestic mountain ranges in the distance. Presently, you find yourself distracted by a sign by the road, one that reads "Western Lands Preservation: Preserve #12," accompanied by a turnoff into a mountain ravine. Being not pressed for time, you decide to turn onto the road and see what this "Preserve" is all about.
The first thing that greets you on the road is a beautiful vista. Enormous mountains swoop up into barren cliff faces as a river traipses along the side of the road. Trees overhang the path, becoming more wild and untamed the farther you go. Eventually, you find yourself at what seems to be a resort, a great wooden lodge built into a hillside, almost looking as if it was a part of the scenery. Inside, there is a restaurant overlooking the lush green valley, hotel rooms, and various shops with nature-themed items, books, and souvenirs. A man at the front desk tells you that here at Preserve #12, you can stay at one of our campsites, have a picnic at the grounds near the river, explore one of the many trails leading through the forest, or help participate in the many nature restoration projects.
In this world, Western Lands Preservation owns millions of acres of land, preserving and restoring them, while allowing others to partake in what we have created through many private lodges. Imagine it almost like a chain of private parks stretching across
the Western U.S. This is what we want to bring about in the world. This is our vision. Right now, we own but our very first
Here's how we're going to get there . . .
Three Phases . . .
As we're starting out, our only goal is to acquire land. We're looking for interesting land, any size, in the Western US. Preferably, we'd like to have land far from human development that we can immediately start protecting or restoring if it has been influenced by humans. But purchasing land closer to civilization is not out of the question. WLP could create a pocket preserve near a city, a place where everything around it has been integrated into the city, and it remains a completely natural haven. However, land closer to human development is usually more expensive, and most often that money would be better spent on more land farther from the cities.
In this phase, most if not all of WLP's revenue will go straight toward purchasing land, and less toward restoring affected lands. While restoring lands is part of our mission, it takes back stage in this part of our growth.
Once WLP has acquired 1,000 acres of land, we can transition to the next phase...
Restore & Build
In this phase, we see ourselves putting more focus onto land restoration. More reforestation projects, more cattle fencing, more cleanup and protection of streams and lakes. While purchasing of land still takes up a sizable chunk of our expenses, it is no longer the only focus.
Here, we also see the first WLP facilities designed to let others enjoy nature. Certain land territories are deemed appropriate for others' enjoyment, and building begins. First, hiking trails are crafted, taking the viewer to the nicest spots in the region. Then, picnic areas and clearings are made for relaxing spins into nature and for special events that might take place on WLP land. And after that, we begin to construct campgrounds, allowing people to stay as long as they want on the land we have preserved and restored. And in the later stages of this phase, we might even see the first WLP lodge constructed.
We're not sure at what point we'll transition from Phase II to Phase III because it's so far in the future that we don't know how things might have developed to influence our choice now. We prefer to make that decision when we feel certain we can uphold it.
Here we take on larger projects and work to have more self-generating revenue. There will be building of resorts and restaurants on more interesting WLP land and selling of our brand to other companies for them to use (think branded apparel). We'll be looking to embrace more of our for-profit nature and begin making significant income apart from companies using the badger badge and member contributions, where we could eventually not receive any from those services, yet still be able to operate. But that by no means changes our core values: regardless of how we generate revenue, the money goes into further preserving Western Lands.
This is our ultimate goal, but it's also a goal that's ambiguous enough that we can never say for certain "We're there" (as in "Are we there yet?"). This means that WLP will always be growing, always improving, no matter what Phase we are in. We'll never completely attain our vision, but that's a good thing.