What is a land trust?
A land trust is a nonprofit, community-based organization dedicated to the permanent protection and stewardship of land for public benefit. We work closely with landowners to conserve land through acquisition, conservation easements, or other interests in real property. Land trusts are supported through charitable donations. Once land is protected, land trusts have an ongoing responsibility to care for the land, ensuring easements are upheld and preserves are well-managed.
How we work:
When we work with private land owners, we work with them in a way that considers their needs as well as the needs of the natural resources. Every project is a balancing act between the land owner’s future needs and the property, as well as the preservation of the environment. We work with individuals, businesses, and governments through donations and purchases.
What is a conservation easement?
A conservation easement is a voluntary and legally binding agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values, as specified in the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) 170(h).
Conservation easements offer flexibility for the landowners in protecting their land. For example, they can allow the landowner to retain the right to grow crops on the parcel, while at the same time the landowner will relinquish the right to build additional structures on the property. An easement may apply to all or a portion of the property and may or may not allow for public access to the property.
A landowner who has donated a conservation easement can sell the land or pass it along to heirs, but future owners are bound by the terms of the easement. If the conservation easement permanently protects important conservation resources, it can qualify as a charitable tax deduction on the donor’s federal income tax return. This tax incentive was made permanent in 2015.