Leo Drey, who bought up tens of thousands of acres of Ozark forest to protect it from clear-cutting then gave it all away to a conservation charity, died Tuesday at his home in the St. Louis suburbs, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He was 98.
A dedicated outdoorsman, Mr. Drey began purchasing Ozark tracts in the early 1950s, restoring forests that had been neglected by lumber companies and selectively harvesting timber while keeping much of the land open for recreational activities. He amassed 146,000 acres and was Missouri's largest private landowner until he and his wife, Kay, donated the property - worth an estimated $180 million - in 2004 to the L-A-D Foundation, a charity he founded to manage the land and promote sustainable forestry.
Read a 2005 Chronicle of Philanthropy article about the Dreys' giving.