Camden County Land Trust
CCLT HOLDS THE CONSERVATION EASEMENT
The primary means used by the Camden County Land Trust to protect land is the conservation easement. A conservation easement is an agreement between a land trust and a conservation-minded landowner. In the agreement, the landowner agrees to limit development on his or her property by permanently donating some or all of the development rights, as specified by the landowner, to the land trust. The landowner is then assured that the land will remain forever in the condition he or she desires, for the use and enjoyment of future generations.
Because the easement is a donation, the landowner is generally able to take an income tax deduction for the value of the donated rights. In addition, the donation usually results in a reduction of property taxes. Finally, the donation of a conservation easement can reduce estate taxes on the landowner’s estate. For its part, the land trust assumes the responsibility of seeing that the terms of the easement are enforced.
Many types of land qualify for conservation easements: natural and scenic lands such as forests, marsh hammocks, and river bottomlands; working properties such as farms and ranches; and even properties with historic or archaeological significance. Landowners can structure the easement according to their needs, and may even retain limited development rights. Contrary to what some landowners believe, easements do not require public access. Conservation easements allow landowners to use their property as they always have but give them the knowledge that their property is protected from unrestricted development in the future.