What Is A Conservation Easement?

A conservation easement is a written legal agreement that provides the landowner with the opportunity to place his or her land into a permanently preserved state. The property owner who wishes to protect his or her property will work with a land trust, such as NNLC, a lawyer, an appraiser, a bank, and perhaps a surveyor, to create this legal, binding document. The easement deed is recorded in the county register deeds office and becomes a matter of permanent record.

When landowners donate a conservation easement, they maintain ownership and management of their land and can sell or pass the land on to their heirs, while foregoing future development rights. Easements offer great flexibility for the land is preserved as the landowner wishes; perhaps as a timbering area, a working farm, or an open space area. The use of the land and its future state is the decision of the landowner.· It is a voluntary process, completely up to the landowner. Present and future owners of the property are bound by the easement’s terms and conditions. The taxes on the land are reduced, which is a benefit to the landowner, and the owner may be entitled to tax credits, which may be sold or applied to future tax payments.