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Saving America's Countryside

, 480 pages

235 b&w illus.

July 1997


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Saving America's Countryside

A Guide to Rural Conservation

second edition

A new edition of the book that received the Historic Preservation Book Prize and the American Society for Landscape Architects' Honor Award

Since publication of the first edition of Saving America's Countryside in 1989, the fight to save America's rural resources has met with much success. Approaches considered experimental just a decade ago—greenways and heritage areas, for example—are now widespread. Yet at the same time, such disquieting developments as continuing suburban sprawl, the weakening of federal laws, and the so-called property rights movement all suggest that work remains to be done.

Saving America's Countryside was the first and is still the only comprehensive, step-by-step guide to protecting the natural, historic, scenic, and agricultural resources of a rural community. The authors show how to organize a conservation effort, inventory available resources, pass effective new laws, set up land trusts, take advantage of federal programs, and change public attitudes.

The thoroughly revised and updated second edition reports on changes in conservation over the past eight years and adds a chapter on making economic development compatible with rural conservation. It includes new case studies, more than fifty new illustrations, and a section on heritage tourism. As in the previous edition, the detailed case studies document a variety of successful—and often surprisingly innovative—conservation efforts by residents of rural communities throughout the United States.

Samuel N. Stokes designed and initiated the Rural Heritage Program at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He now works for the National Park Service, where he manages the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program. A. Elizabeth Watson consults on heritage planning, conservation, and sustainable development. She has worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources, the Land Trust Alliance, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and now works with JMA/Watson. Shelley S. Mastran is director of the Rural Heritage Program at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

"A collective voice raised for small towns, farms, and nature's wonders, and a conviction that hard-focused work can change the course of events for the better. This is a how-to book, with lots of telling examples."

"[These] stories—of stopping unwanted highways, protecting open space, finding financing to preserve historical buildings—make Saving America's Countryside an inspiring resource guide."

"This community action guide from the National Trust for Historic Preservation suggests that even in the heartland, rugged individualism must be tempered."

"If successful conservation is a matter of systematic, rational planning, then this is your guide. Case studies of effective local action. Good graphics and up-to-date legal and technical advice."

"An invaluable handbook that educates the reader in both the knowledge and the practicalities necessary to apply that knowledge... A necessary resource for anyone concerned with or involved in fostering the cultural, social, and personal heritage embodied in the land."