The most important factor in considering conservation options is your own goal as landowner.
Most successful conservation “deals” are between land trusts and people who want to see their land remain open and less developed, rather than getting “top dollar” through its potential for subdivision and development.
Each landowner needs to carefully evaluate their specific, long-term goals and needs and determine what development or use rights they need to keep, and what they are willing to give up in a conservation transaction. Land conservation planning needs to be done in conjunction with your family’s business, financial, and estate planning.
To be eligible for a Land Trust transaction, your land must have recognized conservation values. These conservation values may be land important to the community for its agricultural production, wildlife habitat, wetlands, scenic open space, historic buildings or cultural resource sites.
If your land has these values, the Land Trust can help you and your advisors evaluate conservation scenarios and potential incentives that fit your property and family needs.
When considering a conservation project, the Land Trust consider factors like the size of the property; it’s proximity to other conserved land; the extent and quality of the habitat, agricultural, scenic or historic resources; the feasibility of raising funds or securing tax incentives to complete the transaction; and how ready the owner is to act. We also consider the existing or potential development risks to a property.
We favor conservation easement projects that help preserve agricultural use, that provide greenbelts on the borders of our cities, towns and foothills, or that limit development and protect areas with recognized wildlife or ecological importance.
It’s important to know that conservation easements do not require public access.
At times, the Land Trust works with landowners who are willing to make their land available for public access – by selling or donating property so the public may enjoy it. We occasionally negotiate and hold trail easements where the underlying land remains private but the owner is willing to allow a hiking trail. Property adjacent to existing public park or national forest land may be eligible for acquisition and transfer to state or federal agencies, although funding is limited.
When considering any purchase or donation of land, we must plan carefully for its future ownership or management – either by the Land Trust or by transferring it to another public or private organization to manage. The Land Trust cannot accept land without knowing that the resources are there to take care of it. We work with other community groups to raise property endowments, organize trail and habitat project volunteers, and develop partnerships to ensure land we acquire is well managed.