Conservationist will be missed

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The passing of Phil Hanes on Jan. 16 was a sad occasion for those interested in conservation in the upper New River valley.
Phil could only be described as a colorful character, always fascinating to be around, and with many and varied philanthropic interests.
Phil was very active in the effort to conserve private farmland through conservation easements.
Conservation easements began to be used locally in the early 1990s as a way for farm owners to preserve family lands and manage the burden of estate taxes.
As a result of Phil’s generosity, and his creative efforts at fundraising for these early projects, thousands of acres along the New River have been protected in perpetuity, with minimal expenditure of government money.
Phil was also active in the establishment of Grayson Landcare, and in numerous efforts to improve the profitability of farming in Grayson and surrounding counties.
There was never a dull moment when Phil was around, and he will be truly missed.
Thomas J. Smith
Mouth of Wilson