Conservation Easement Donation
The conservation easement may be the single most important tool available today to meet the landowner’s desire to maintain private ownership and our communities’ need to preserve natural settings. Government cannot afford, nor would we want it, to buy up all the land that we need to maintain air quality, water quality, cultural settings, wildlife, and scenic vistas.
Clients donate conservation easements to protect their land or historic property from inappropriate development and maintain private ownership. An easement ensures their legacy will endure no matter who owns the property in the future.
A conservation easement is a restriction on future development on a parcel of land. The easement document is flexible. It is written to meet the goals and objectives of the landowner and conserve the integrity of the landscape.
Easements are not rights of way. An easement does not open land to the public unless you specifically want it to. An easement need not cover all the property, preclude all use or development, or allow public access to qualify for a charitable deduction.
For instance, a conservation easement can allow for continuation of timber harvesting, for farming, or for simply leaving the land unchanged. It may allow limited subdivision of the land and housing development. The more restrictive the easement is, the greater the value of the easement and its potential tax benefits.