Saturday, August 25, 2007
A conversation with the RMEF about Real Estate Advertising.
In the last couple of issues you may have noticed some advertising in the latest issue of Bugle magazine for real estate. I am not sure about you but on initial look these advertisements got my hackle up a bit. For an organization that is working so hard to protect land from development why would they be advertising for real estate companies. Well a couple of emails later and I now have the answers for you as follows:
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is one organization in which I donate a large amount of money and also an organization that I volunteer my relatively limited amount of time to on several committees. I am really happy that we had this conversation via email and I am really thankful that I was able to have Buddy's permission to publish this information here on our website for all of readers.
My hope is that the RMEF will continue to work with these real estate companies to create relationships with new land owners to increase our work with conservation easements to increase habitat for elk and other wildlife.
Our Exchange is as follows:
My Initial Email:
I just received my copy of the September/October issue of Bugle Magazine which in my opinion is still one of the finest publications in the hunting community. I usually take the first night to flip page to page and then the next night I devour it article by article and word by word. Tonight I saw something in the bugle that I can hardly believe. I saw an advertisement for United Country Real Estate selling off the west to the highest bidder.
Isn't this what we are working against as an organization? Why do we need the advertising revenue so badly as to sacrifice our integrity to sell out to the highest bidders? Is the RMEF in support of this? I remember a discussion with you across from our booth at elk camp in 2006 where you told me that if you had your way you would not allow real estate companies to be included in Elk Camp. Please do not allow this to continue, lets keep our integrity and continue to work for the protection of elk and the purchase and protection of habitat that will be open to elk hunters of all walks of life.
Kevin C. Paulson
11005 North Lamont Court
Fredericksburg, VA 22407
Response from Walker S. (Buddy) Smith:
Thanks for your email regarding real estate advertising in Bugle magazine. To your point, the Elk Foundation had a policy against any sort of real estate advertising in Bugle for its first 22 years. The increasing pace of land transactions in Elk Country is one of the primary challenges facing the Elk Foundation today and into the foreseeable future. With escalating land values and changing demographics, the pressure to sell large tracts of land for commercial and residential development is enormous. At the same time, there are emerging buyers, sellers and real estate professionals with a strong conservation ethic who would like to see many of these traditional ranch and farm lands remain intact and be preserved for wildlife and future generations. It is this changing landscape that led us to take another look at that policy and consider the potential benefits of working with appropriate real estate companies.
The Elk Foundation is uniquely qualified to participate in real estate transactions in elk country, and by doing so, further accomplish our mission to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife and their habitat. By becoming engaged in the real estate business, we create the opportunity to educate buyers, sellers and agents on the benefits of conservation and the tools available to accomplish conservation goals.
It is absolutely crucial to understand that most properties are marketed through a variety of resources. Properties suitable for development are well known to developers. Bugle is a resource for reaching conservation minded buyers. By becoming engaged in the real estate business, we have the opportunity to compete with developers for properties that are important for the future of Elk Country. It is highly unlikely that a property will ever be sold and developed simply because it was advertised in Bugle.
Simply put, we can become engaged in the real estate business, and if we place a single property with a conservation buyer or place a single conservation easement because of the dialog created, then we are accomplishing our mission. Properties that sell and get developed would have been sold and developed regardless of our participation in the process.
We now have a new policy in place that allows limited advertising in Bugle. Properties and agencies must meet specific criteria to be considered. We have already turned down several proposed ads. I’ve attached a copy of the policy for your review.
As always, I appreciate any and all input from you and any other member. At the same time, I know that it is unlikely that any decision we make is going to make everyone happy. Hopefully I have provided you with a better understanding of our thinking regarding real estate advertising. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to call.
By the way this is actually the second issue of this type of ad and this is the issue with ATV ads, from which I am sure to get some e-mails.
The Official Policy on Real Estate Advertising from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Real Estate Advertising Policy for Bugle
There is substantial interest in advertising real estate in Bugle magazine. With escalating land values and changing demographics, land transactions are expected to increase dramatically in the years ahead. As the pressure for commercial and residential development of land has increased, numerous real estate companies specializing in larger properties and promoting conservation ethics have emerged. By accepting appropriate real estate advertising in Bugle magazine, and developing an RMEF endorsed property program, the Elk Foundation will benefit by developing a new source of advertising revenue and by becoming more engaged in the business. Through greater involvement, we stand to develop more opportunities to promote conservation values, place conservation easements, and acquire critical properties or place them with suitable conservation minded buyers. Real estate advertising in Bugle must meet specific conservation oriented criteria to avoid conflict with our mission to protect habitat in elk country.
Properties listed in any advertisement in Bugle must meet the following criteria:
1. Located in Elk Country as defined by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
2. Minimum property size of 100 acres
3. Property possesses conservation value for elk and other wildlife
4. Current and future use is consistent with good habitat stewardship or has the potential to respond to good habitat stewardship
5. Is an appropriate candidate for a conservation easement
6. Advertising message is consistent with habitat protection (no development oriented ads)
7. Located in Elk Country as defined by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
8. Minimum property size of 100 acres
9. Property possesses conservation value for elk and other wildlife
10. Current and future use is consistent with good habitat stewardship or has the potential to respond to good habitat stewardship
11. Is an appropriate candidate for a conservation easement
12. Advertising message is consistent with habitat protection (no development oriented ads)
Criteria for real estate companies/agents:
1. Commitment to conservation properties and ethics
2. Not oriented to subdivision/development of properties in elk country
3. Not associated wing, non-fair chase hunting, etc.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007