Boots and Birkenstocks: Landowner attitudes about conservation easements in San Mateo County
Since its inception in the 1950s, the conservation easement has become a powerful tool in the land conservation movement. The flexibility it offers both landowners and conservation agencies is appealing, and the financial benefits work for both parties. This paper explores the attitudes landowners in San Mateo County have about conservation easements, and what motivates them to adopt (or not to adopt) one for their own land. Interviews were conducted with large-area landowners in San Mateo County, and answers were analyzed in an effort to understand the attitudes about conservation easements as a tool and the motivations for their adoption. Entities interested in promoting conservation easements as a tool for land conservation in San Mateo County will encounter a general lack of knowledge about the topic coupled a mixture of deep seated resistance based on past negative experiences or bounding enthusiasm based on positive experiences or outcomes from existing agreements. These findings concur with the literature at large, despite the fact that San Mateo County is unusual in terms of its demographics.