A conservation easement is a voluntary but legally binding agreement between a landowner and the Conservancy to permanently protect a portion (or all) of a land’s natural value.
The Conservancy works with the landowner to craft a flexible agreement that will protect the core conservation values of the land, yet be adaptable to future needs. This legacy is recorded in the property deed and the Conservancy agrees to work in partnership with the landowner and future landowners to ensure the terms of the agreement are met, forever.
Conservation Easements Ensure:
- The land remains in private ownership (landowner retains title and pay taxes);
Scenic character, wildlife habitat, water quality, and agricultural and forestland productivity of the property will be protected by limiting future subdivision and development;
- Continued use of the land for agriculture, forestry, recreation, or the multitude of other purposes compatible with conservation; and
- Compatible land use and development—landowner reserves the right to construct or maintain a residence on the property and may reserve the right to construct and maintain additional residences
on the property.
- Certain areas will be sited to accommodate existing and future development taking into account the entirety of the natural potential of the land as well as its scenic resources. A Minimal Protection Area (MPA) will be designated in an area to promote compatible land use and development so that it will be available for a wide variety of activities, uses, and additional improvements subject to minimal constraints necessary to achieve conservation objectives outside the MPA.
Responsibility of Land Trust
To ensure your conservation objectives are met, the Conservancy is required to monitor the land on an annual basis and set aside money into a Stewardship and Legal Defense Fund. This fund is designed to guarantee the resources are available to protect and defend the easement in perpetuity.
The amount placed into the fund varies with the size and complexity of the property and the terms of the conservation easement. In making this gift to the community, we ask the landowner to contribute these tax deductible funds or, if you are unable to donate the full amount, we may be able to raise the funds from other sources.
Learn more about other Conservancys, land trusts, and our responsibility to steward and defend easements forever with the national Land Trust Alliance or with the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association.
The Process to Protect Your Land