Land Choices: Changing Development in America
Choices for Landowners
Preserve Your Land Conservation Subdivisions Other Land Choices
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Copyright 2007
  LandChoices -
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The History of Land Choices

"Growing up, I remember going on walks through the deep Oak forest behind our home in Farmington Hills, Michigan. My mother would take Herman, our Basset Hound, and myself on a picnic. She would stop and gaze in awe at the the acres of Trillium lining the forest floor.

"Button's Orchard"
The trail led us to "Button's Orchard", acres of beautiful rolling apple fields. The meadows were busy with huge dragon flies and bumble bees flying through the trees. We'd sit with Herman under an apple tree in the spring sun and eat our lunch. I was only four years old, but the memory of those days, the fresh breezes and wonderful smells of nature, are engraved in my memory.

"Hidden Lake"
In the winter my parents would take my brother and myself deep in the woods to "Hidden Lake" to play hockey. It was a wonderful childhood, the type of childhood every child has a right to experience.

All Gone Now
That wonderful forest, the dragon flies and apple trees are gone now
, needlessly clear-cut and graded flat, destroyed for "cookie-cutter" subdivisions. "Hidden Lake" was filled in for housing. A sign hanging in a basement is all that remains of "Button's Orchard".

"For Sale"
One day my mother was driving to the store. I was four years old in the back seat. I noticed a "For Sale" sign on a farm near our home. I asked why the farmer had to sell his land and my mom replied, "Don't worry honey, there is nothing you can do about it." I thought "I'm going to do something about this, there has to be a better way." That was the start of my passion to create LandChoices. I wanted to offer landowners better choices.

Orchard Lake, MI
Later we moved to Orchard Lake, Michigan. I remember walking the beautiful rolling farm fields and forests
across from our home with our German Shepherd, Edee. Pheasants cackled and flushed over hedgerows. Rabbits hid in the brush along streams and creeks. Fox hunted the open meadows. Deer and fawns called this wilderness home. Neighbors hiked and cross country skiied the rolling trails.

All Gone Now (It Happened Again!)
I came home from college one weekend and was heartbroken to see this land clear-cut and scraped flat for a new subdivision, 'The Woods of Orchard Lake'. This once beautiful land, and it's magical wildlife, is now silent and gone forever.

Discovering Solutions
After these two life changing experiences I spent years researching and learning everything I could about ways to protect land. I learned better ways to build neighborhoods that are fair to landowners, developers, wildlife, and neighbors. I discovered that better choices existed, but hardly anyone was aware of them. And misinformation was stopping these better choices from being implemented.

Learning From Two Experts
I attended workshops by author and Boston Tax Attorney Steve Small, considered the nation's expert on preserving family lands. I also attended workshops by author and planner Randall Arendt, the nation's foremost authority on conservation subdivisions. I talked with landowners who protected land and visited conservation subdivisions.

I asked Randall Arendt if he would be interested in being a member of LandChoices' Advisory Group. He enthusiastically agreed. I then created LandChoices to reach landowners and planners to save your favorite natural areas, working farms, clean water and wildlife.

I founded LandChoices to:
1. Inform planners and landowners about conservation subdivisions - a better way every beautiful place in America slated for development.

2. Inform landowners about land preservation agreements (conservation easements) to preserve land.

3. Inform boards of Boy Scout, Girl Scout, YMCA, and other camps (church camps, hunt clubs) about how to preserve camp lands using land preservation agreements (conservation easements)."
Kirt Manecke, LandChoices'Founder and President

Preserving Clean Water and Lakes

The land around this lake in a subdivision in southeast Michigan is preserved. A hiking trail loops around the lake, complete with delightful wooded areas from which to launch a canoe. Why aren't more subdivisions designed this way? With your help, LandChoices is working to take designs like this mainstream.
Photo courtesy Randall Arendt.

"There are excellent land conservation options for landowners, but the message isn't getting out fast enough. LandChoices is spreading the word to protect clean water, natural lands, wildlife, and working farms."

LandChoices' Founder and President, Kirt Manecke

LandChoices was started by Kirt Manecke. Previously, Manecke served as the Executive Director and Director of Development for a northern Michigan land trust.

Manecke's business experience includes developing an award-winning successful start-up business, new business development in the software industry, and technical sales for a leading Minnesota manufacturer.

Currently Manecke owns, a public relations and sales company. Manecke also works as a publicist for New York Times best-selling author Carl R. Sams II.

Kirt Manecke, Founder and President, with Wire Hair Fox Terrier mascot Teddy

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