As Logging Fades, Rich Carve Up Open Land in West
"WHITEFISH, Mont. — William P. Foley II pointed to the mountain. Owns it, mostly. A timber company began logging in view of his front yard a few years back. He thought they were cutting too much, so he bought the land.
Boys jump into Flathead Lake in northwestern Montana, a region where the timber industry, private developers and local citizens compete for the interests of the land, rich in natural beauty and resources.
Mr. Foley belongs to a new wave of investors and landowners across the West who are snapping up open spaces as private playgrounds on the borders of national parks and national forests.
In style and temperament, this new money differs greatly from the Western land barons of old — the timber magnates, copper kings and cattlemen who created the extraction-based economy that dominated the region for a century.
Mr. Foley, 62, standing by his private pond, his horses grazing in the distance, proudly calls himself a conservationist who wants Montana to stay as wild as possible. That does not mean no development and no profit. Mr. Foley, the chairman of a major title insurance company, Fidelity National Financial, based in Florida, also owns a chain of Montana restaurants, a ski resort and a huge cattle ranch on which he is building homes.
But arriving here already rich and in love with the landscape, he said, also means his profit motive is different.
“A lot of it is more for fun than for making money,” said Mr. Foley, who estimates he has invested about $125 million in Montana in the past few years, mostly in real estate...
With the timber industry in steep decline, recreation is pushing aside logging as the biggest undertaking in the national forests and grasslands, making nearby private tracts more desirable — and valuable, in a sort of ratchet effect — to people who enjoy outdoor activities and ample elbow room and who have the means to take title to what they want. Source NYTimes
But the protestors are never happy:
“I’m a former tree hugger who was opposed to everything, every timber sale,” Ms. Dahl said, “but now I see that the worst thing you can do is lose it all to development.”
It's funny, though - wasn't that Greg King, the former Earth First! leader - who stood up at the Humboldt County Board meeting to announce that he was a TPZ landholder who bought his land intending to build a house AND log it. Of course he has to say he intends to log it, doesn't he? But isn't that EXTREMELY hypocritical? Or is it just to ensure he gets the tax breaks that everyone is talking about? Either way - he has his - now he wants to make sure you can't get yours.