Profile of Giving: Louis Bacon
Foundation leader funds forest management from Atlantic coast to Southern Rocky Mountains.
When Louis Bacon was growing up, his family took him on trips from his hometown of Raleigh to North Carolina’s Outer Banks. In the marshes and wetlands near the Atlantic coast, he saw wildlife in the woodlands that gave him an appreciation for nature that has stayed with him throughout his life. While those formative experiences happened far from the snowy slopes of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Taos, New Mexico, his love for the two places would come together decades later through his commitment to conservation.
“My father was the first person to introduce me to the great outdoors—and to impart upon me the importance of the individual to protect land and water,” says Bacon. “I have great memories of duck hunting with him in the marshes of the Currituck Sound and experiencing the majesty of marine wildlife during boat trips to the Outer Banks."
Bacon’s years at Middlebury College in Vermont further deepened his appreciation for nature through cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and hiking its Bread Loaf campus. Years later, his foundation—The Moore Charitable Foundation—and Middlebury established the Bread Loaf Preservation Fund to safeguard the Bread Loaf campus and surrounding forests. Today, 2,100 acres are protected through a conservation easement held by the Vermont Land Trust in partnership with TNC.
From college to career, Bacon founded Moore Capital Management and The Moore Charitable Foundation, making smart investments in financial markets and the environment. His first major conservation purchase occurred in 1993, when he bought Robins Island, a 434-acre, mostly undeveloped property in the Great Peconic Bay off Long Island. In 1997, he authorized a conservation easement to TNC, protecting the island in perpetuity, the first of many conservation easements he has authorized since.
In addition to his father’s influence, someone else also played a critical role in Bacon’s charitable career.
“Ted Turner’s commitment to environmental conservation has also had a significant impact on my conservation philanthropy,” he said. “A trip to Ted’s ranch La Primavera in Patagonia was particularly memorable—to see and experience his efforts in action. Both Ted’s example and my father’s influence have guided and focused my efforts to preserve and protect wildlife habitats and improve water systems for future generations—because once they are lost, they’re gone forever.”
Bacon’s list of environmental accolades received is exceeded only by his record of protection and restoration results, particularly in forest management. His efforts to protect habitats and improve water systems is most notable in Taos, New Mexico where his Taos Ski Valley Foundation and Taos Ski Valley, Inc. have invested in forest restoration; and in North Carolina where work in the Cape Fear Arch supported by his Orton Foundation and on his own property have been major catalysts in longleaf pine restoration.
“The Nature Conservancy is an important partner in promoting resilient forests through techniques that include prescribed fire, thinning and invasive species removal to reduce excess fuels that cause severe wildfires and restore healthy ecosystems,” he said. “I’m proud of our partnership with the New Mexico and North Carolina chapters, which continue to meet these challenges head-on through their vision, diligent work on the ground and collaborative model to protect our natural resources and communities.”