"Volcano Lake, Calif. -- The news is distressing: A cratering real estate market, tight-fisted banks unwilling to make loans and no appetite among elected officials to let go of a dime. So why are conservationists smiling?"
"It turns out that the tattered economy has cracked open a window of opportunity for groups seeking to set aside land for preservation. With property developers and speculators on the sidelines — and cautious folks electing to forgo building that cabin in the woods — desirable land is on the market for a fraction of its former price.
And thanks to laws extending tax breaks and other incentives, rural residents are lining up as never before to work with local land trusts in hopes of saving the family farm."