If you own conservation land that you would like to see protected for future generations, you may be able to create a conservation easement in the Trust’s favor that protects the land from future development. You may also donate or sell the land in fee to the Trust. Tax laws may make it advantageous for you to select one of these options.
A conservation easement is an agreement between a landowner and a land trust (or government entity) that permanently restricts certain aspects of land use—typically, development--in order to protect the conservation values of the property. The landowner maintains ownership and use of the property, and can sell it or pass it on to heirs. But the land remains subject to the restrictions originally agreed upon. It is the responsibility of the land trust to monitor the property to make sure that those restrictions are honored.
A conservation easement donation that meets certain federal tax code regulations can qualify as a tax-deductible charitable gift. Depending upon the circumstances, the easement may also result in property tax reductions and estate tax benefits.
A landowner may donate conservation land outright to a land trust during his or her lifetime or through his or her will. A landowner may also donate a remainder interest, which means that he donates the land during his or her lifetime but reserves the right to continue to live on the land until his death.
A landowner may sell land to a land trust at fair market value or at a price below fair market value. A sale below fair market value is known as a bargain sale and, depending upon the circumstances, may qualify for favorable treatment under federal tax code regulations.
If you own forest land, please consider creating a forest stewardship plan. Recognizing the fact that over 80% of Connecticut's forests are owned by individuals and families, the Connecticut DEEP Division of Forestry, through the CT Forest Stewardship Program, can provide you with information, education and technical assistance. If you like, a Public Service Forester will visit your land at no charge to help you assess the features and health of your land and identify ways to improve its value as habitat and enhance your use and enjoyment of it. Information and education is also available from the UCONN Cooperative Extension System, and financial assistance may be available through the USDA NRCS Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP). For more information, contact Thomas Worthley, Extension Forester, at (860)345-4511 (phone) or
• Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also participate in an excellent 3-day program called COVERTS, a seminar focused on wildlife habitat, given annually at no charge. Contact Thomas Worthley (see above) or Christina Clayton, COVERTS Cooperator, at (860)434-6294.
• Click the link to the left to download a PDF application form for the COVERTS program.
The Old Lyme Land Trust encourages you to explore these options so as to maintain and preserve your land and enhance the enjoyment and satisfaction you derive from it.
• Contact OLLT for more information about these options.