Local and regional land trusts, organized as charitable organizations under federal tax laws, are directly involved in conserving land for its natural, recreational, scenic, historical, and agricultural values. Working directly with willing landowners, land trusts can purchase land for permanent protection, accept donations of land or the funds to purchase land, accept bequests, or accept the donations of land preservation agreements, which permanently limit the type and scope of development that can take place on the land. In some instances, land trusts also purchase land preservation agreements or take ownership for permanent protection.
Land trusts also educate the public and advocate for the need to conserve land. They can help landonwers tailor a conservation plan to their individual situation and financial circumstances, and determine the property’s conservation values and future ownership.
A Conservation Easement is: a legal agreement between a willing landowner and a land trust that places permanent restrictions on the uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values.
What does that mean? By donating a Conservation Easement to a land trust, you are voluntarily giving up some of the rights related to the land. The restrictions run with the land in perpetuity, meaning future landowners must also follow the terms put in place by the Conservation Easement. For instance, a parcel could remain active farmland while prohibiting large structures, or the future location of a residential home with limits on size could be specified while also stating limits on land use which protect the important scenic, historical, and ecological values on the rest of the land.
Please contact WVLT with additional questions you may have, or to discuss putting a conservation easement on your property.