Hudson Highlands

Who Is the Land For?

Image Credit: Greg Miller

“This land was made for you and me.” Over the years, this Woodie Guthrie lyric has become an anthem of our nation’s land conservation community.

But the murder of George Floyd, on the heels of countless other tragic acts of violence perpetrated upon black people at the hands of civil authorities, have me questioning the unifying, optimistic sentiment. Is our nation’s land really meant for all? Our history proves otherwise.

When we in this community talk about land, we prescribe certain values: clean water, clean air, access to recreation, etc. And while we can agree that these values are universally critical in supporting health and wellbeing for all, we must also acknowledge and respect the possibility that history and current circumstances influence the way others relate to the land. The times in which we are living require us to dig deeper into the role land and land ownership have played in creating the divides that are plaguing our nation today.

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