Since 1969 the Conservancy has been working to save important natural places for people and wildlife. As more land is lost each year to development, it’s our mission to protect and maintain carefully selected habitat in its natural state as a balance to our growth.
Each conservation project is as unique as the property itself, and we are grateful to work with wonderful partners who allow us the flexibility necessary to save nature however possible!
Protect Your Land
If you’re interested in finding out how to protect your land, take a look at the various options outlined below. We’re always up to the challenge of finding creative ways to protect land, so if you have questions don’t hesitate to reach out to chat about your goals.
Buying Land to Save It
The main way the Conservancy protects land is outright ownership – we’ve preserved thousands of acres this way! This method allows the Conservancy to acquire strategically-important natural lands for preservation, and we rest easier knowing it will be preserved and stewarded forever. These projects are typically completed with either a partial or full donation of land, and many donors wish to place special restrictions on the property upon transfer to the Conservancy. We use public and private grant funding to make up the balance of the project costs. Our funders require certain restrictions on the deed, usually that the lands remain open to the public free of charge. Our lands are kept in a natural state and used for hunting, fishing, hiking, bird watching, cross country skiing, picnicking, and other outdoor activities, as well as habitat protection.
The Conservancy also holds hundreds of acres in conservation easements. In a conservation easement, the land remains in private ownership, but a voluntary, legally-binding agreement between a landowner and conservation organization places restrictions on the land for all future owners. Typical restrictions include use and development rights that would be in conflict with preservation of the natural, scenic, recreational, educational, and historic resources.
We work with landowners to identify resources that are important to the landowner and to establish a plan to protect what they value. Once finalized, the conservation easement follows the deed and is tied to the land forever. We monitor the conservation easement areas on a yearly basis to ensure the landowner manages the property according to the conservation easement.
Benefits of Protecting Your Land
With partial to full donations of the value of conservation easements or land, the landowner may be able to realize a tax benefit. The Conservancy advises potential donors and their families to work with their attorney, accountant, or financial adviser. Appraisals are an essential part of the process to value donations of land, and they are based on highest and best use (or development value) of the land. Conservation easements are valued at the difference between the highest and best use and the value with the conservation easement restrictions in place.