Why protect land in the Katy region? Landowners who choose to protect their land in the Katy area do so for a wide variety of reasons:
- Loss of Land. The United States loses more than a million acres a year of farmland to development, much of it prime agricultural soil. Even Missouri, the state with the second highest number of farms in the country, lost over 100,000 acres in the past quarter-century to development. Paving over Missouri's farms and forests can mean the permanent loss of our most cherished landscapes and the degradation of our natural resources. By acting wisely now and preserving our most important lands, we can guide development to be more efficient, reduce our dependency on foreign oil, and care for the soil, air, and water on which our life depends.
- Agricultural Heritage. When you protect your land with a conservation agreement, you can leave a legacy for generations to come. In some instances, the income and estate tax benefits that come with land protection can make the difference between keeping the farm in the family or losing the land you have worked for generations.
- Natural Beauty. The rugged hills and breathtaking views along the Missouri River are a treasure for all to see. Whether driving Highway 94, biking the Katy Trail, or floating down the Missouri, everyone benefits when these beautiful and productive lands are preserved.
- Natural Resources. Protected land reduces runoff, slows erosion, and contributes to better water quality and air quality for all Missourians. Conservation agreements are flexible tools that can allow for active use of the land with safeguards for the environment and habitat. Forests, for example, can be managed to provide profitable harvests while preserving habitat at the same time.
- Ecology. The Missouri River Valley is home to a wide range of unique habitats for all manner of wildlife. The cliffs, glades, caves, springs, and forests are home to an abundance of plants and animals unique to the Ozark region. The Katy region is home a number of endangered species, including the bald eagle and two different kinds of sturgeon - all of which depend on their critical habitat for survival.
- Economy. Since the Katy Trail dedicated as a state park in 1990, a conservatively estimated 300,000 people have walked or cycled the trail annually. Over 300 businesses are estimated to cater to the trail specifically, and the annual Katy trail bike ride attracts hundreds of visitors from all over the country and the world to enjoy the splendor of this unique journey. Coupled with the region's growing vineyards and breweries-many of which boast scenic views-there is a great economic incentive for the region to preserve its most cherished and productive lands.
Best of all, many lands along the Katy Trail can protect many of these priorities simultaneously. By privately preserving a heritage for your family, you can also preserve a beautiful landscape, a home for a rare bird, or a breathtaking view - all at the same time.