Wildlife Preservation

Wildlife/Land Protection

  • 1 Team Size
  • 2020 Founding Year
  • Seattle, WA Location
  • Company, seed stage Project Status
  • Real Estate Markets

Good day! In 2019 I re-acquired 200 acres of pristine elk habitat near Mount Saint Helens that used to be part of my family’s homestead of 1910. It was exciting to bring this large piece of land back under family ownership. We lost it after the early death of my uncle in 1969, after which his widow had to sell the property to support her surviving family.

This type of land is rare these days, close to civilization but not developed into housing or commercial ventures, and not intensely farmed for trees. It is a “mixed forest” with many species of beautiful and large trees. There are open and beautiful fields where elk and deer and coyotes and raven, and owls make themselves present daily.

My brother and I, who now control the full 400 acre homestead, have seen so much clear cutting around us. Forest owners cut hundreds if not thousands of acres at a time, and effectively destroy wildlife habitat. It is their right. But it is wonderful to know that we, too, can manage our property in a different way, agreeing never to log it again. Our future generations will benefit, even as property becomes more and more expensive due to population growth. They will hold something that otherwise they would be unlikely to be able to afford.

While walking through our beautiful forest it dawned on me that maybe now is the time to begin pursuing a plan I’d been thinking about for years. Why not extend this concept to the broader public. Afford many people the chance to be a part of, and retain some ownership of, our forecasts. Presently large forest owners must “farm” the land to maintain their business. This agricultural process is very hard on nature and I’ve seen first-hand how properties adjacent to us have no frogs, few songbirds, and sterile puddles of water. This is completely the opposite of our land which has not been subject to aggressive fertilization to make the trees grow faster. It has not been blasted with nasty chemicals and poisons to ensure only Douglas fir trees survive on the ground. These practices are hard to watch and accept; but, they are totally legal.

On the opposite side are entities like the Nature Conservancy that strive to remove lands entirely from production or human use outside the possibility of walking trails. These are great efforts supported by wonderful people. We should do all we can to support and cheerlead them in their efforts. They bring together many people to protect our special lands.

But many people in our country do not support either of these land ownership models. This model, whereby individuals come together to protect and enjoy wildlands is missing. A model that affords a member the opportunity for “ownership” of the open space they are supporting. Public parks and open space are great, but many cannot see enough value in such models to participate themselves financially.

I believe therefore that an opportunity exists to acquire properties for the primary purpose of land conservation funded by member-sponsors. The land, depending on its type, can be heavily tilted toward wildlife and open space protection, but not completely void of generating value. Our homestead provides three examples of low-impact value that can serve as a model to enable more lands to be protected. First, when neighboring land owners clear cut their land, many of our bordering trees blow over in the next few years. They could be left to rot, but instead we use low-impact means to bring the trees to market. In this way we can invest in other ways to benefit the property and support wildlife.

Second our children peel cascara bark periodically, since this tree is almost a weed on the homestead and the trees provide a never-ending supply of a sought-after organic laxative. Being a short-lived tree, if not harvested the trees die after a few years anyway. Again, this practice generates a modest amount of income and connection to the land without harming our primary purpose of land preservation.

Lastly, our family spends many nights each year staying in our cabins abutting an orchard planted in 1895. There is endless fun and family memories made every time we visit the property. Friends join us as well here to make the memories even more special.

This model can allow the acquisition and preservation of thousands of acres of minimally-managed forest and open-space lands. My view is that properties can be acquired cost-effectively and therefore supported with modest contributions from members. A network of private parks can come into being to the benefit of the members, but also to the many types of wildlife we can protect. Acquiring 200 acres can be had for $500,000 or less, creating a monthly holding cost of about $2,000. This example land, not huge but certainly large enough to protect much wildlife, would not require a huge number of contributors. As few as 10 people at $200 a month, or 100 people contributing $20 a month would do it. Scale this up to a number of similar acquisitions and “economies of scale” would make the numbers even more attractive (i.e., lower) for members.

But what would motivate individuals to contribute $200 month or even $20? My view is that many people would be willing to contribute $20-$50 a month in exchange for the ability to visit “their” land. Knowing one is protecting land they can touch and feel is a powerful marketing tool.

Others contributing larger sums could have timeshare-like rights to take their RVs for a weekend a year and escape the city. The timeshare analogy is especially attractive to me. Think about how timeshares work. People spend $5,000 to $50,000, or more, upfront and then hundreds a month after that for a week or two of vacation. Even for great camping sites. Or they buy a piece of land for tens of thousands and have to do all of the work to maintain it. Again, just to visit a couple times each year. This model allows the same opportunity to members and causes modest impact to the environment if managed properly. It’s a lot easier. And where expanded out to many properties the attractiveness of the opportunity rises since members would have more choices. It is possible to offer this opportunity while still protecting the land and wildlife.

I have many skills sets necessary to make this venture a great success. I am a professional in the utility industry with experience acquiring and managing projects costing hundreds of millions of dollars. These heavily-regulated assets requiring interactions with many facets of government. My background in finance and asset modeling certainly will help. My family has managed forest lands for decades; I have been an integral partner in that. And there is complexity in forest management. Trees generally grow well on their own, but there can be many interactions with local and state governments.

In my early 20s, before entering manufacturing, I ran a small business harvesting forest products. Then early in my career I ran another small business constructing fences for middle-class families and commercial property owners to learn more about small business and to get some exercise without having to go to the gum. Further, in the past decade I personally acquired, managed the rehabilitation and operations of millions of dollars of multi-family real estate, giving me an appreciation for yet another small business.

But other important skills are needed to make this endeavor possible. To ensure we can acquire and protect thousands of acres in the Northwest and beyond. Nothing is better than a like-minded team of dedicated and passionate partners with differing skill sets. Will you join me? Some of the people I am looking to partner with will have skills in the following areas: • Legal • Marketing • Information Technology (I think a smart mobile app will be one of the keys of success) • Bank finance

The longer-term the goal would be for the business generate salaries generous enough to support the partners’ efforts up to and including full-time work. The business model also should support the hiring of professional staff as the business grows.

If this bit of a fun and crazy idea connects with you, please do reach out to learn more. This effort needs you. Why spend decades working for “the man” when you can follow your passion and protect land for generations? Why retire without purpose when you can share your life experience pursuing some greater good. Please don’t pass this invitation by. Reach out and join me. Together we can make a huge difference. We and others can look back on our lives and see a legacy!

Thank you for reading.

Your friend, Clint


clint kalich