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What is a conservation easement?

A conservation easement is the legal glue that binds a property owner’s good intentions to the land in perpetuity. Donors of conservation easements retain title to their property. They grant conservation easements to protect their land from inappropriate development. A conservation easement runs with the title to the property regardless of changes in future ownership.

Granting an easement can yield tax savings. Think of land ownership as holding a bundle of rights that may include the right to subdivide, construct buildings, harvest timber or restrict access. A landowner may sell or donate the whole bundle of rights or just one or two of those rights.

copyright Greg Syverson
To give away certain rights for the purpose of conservation, while retaining others, a property owner grants a deed of conservation easement to a land trust like the Nushagak-Mulchatna Wood-Tikchik Land Trust. The donation of an easement may qualify as a charitable contribution. As such, it may reduce income, estate and gift taxes.

A conservation easement is only one method of protecting land. If you are a landowner and want to learn more, please contact us.