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Helman leaving land conservancy

Special to the R-C

One of the Carson Valley’s best-known open land advocates is leaving the American Land Conservancy but says she will continue her local work.

Gardnerville resident Ame Hellman, vice president of the Land Conservancy and a member of the Douglas County Planning Commission, said she will be leaving the Conservancy at the end of the year.

“It’s just time for a change,” she said, adding, “I’m not going to abandon these folks. I’ll still be working with them.”

The Land Conservancy is a private group that brokers land exchanges and promotes programs to conserve open space around the country.

Hellman said her Conservancy work was time-consuming, taking her to Wisconsin, California and Alaska in addition to Nevada. She plans to keep her planning commission post, an appointment that initially drew some questions about possible conflicts of interest due to the missions of the Conservancy and the planning commission, which advises the County Commission on land use issues.

The state ethics board ruled after Hellman was appointed in 1998 there was no conflict, and Hellman said those questions played no role in her decision to leave the Conservancy. She was reappointed to the planning board in January for a full four-year term.

Hellman said she will follow efforts to sell federal land on Lincoln County and use the proceeds to buy development rights in Douglas County, keeping the land open.

Now known as the Lincoln-Douglas Exchange, the program was initially called the Rural Lands Initiative. Hellman worked on that earlier version through the Conservancy.