Keweenaw Land Trust protects lands in three ways:
1. We accept donations of land for permanent
preservation under the guidelines established in our
2. We hold conservation easements as a means for
landowners to set permanent legal guidelines for the
current and future use of their lands.
3. We acquire land through land purchases with funds
raised by KLT. We also assist like-minded
conservation organizations with land purchases.
What is a conservation easement?
If you own land and
want to provide for its long term protection, while
still retaining ownership of the land, you can
establish a conservation easement on your land. A
conservation easement is a flexible, legal means to
preserve land values; it is recorded and attached to
the deed to your property. The landowner who creates
the easement tailors the easement to his/her wishes
for the land, and this easement continues in
perpetuity even when the land changes hands. The
easement is held by a land trust or other
conservation organization which provides for long
term enforcement and monitoring of the land.
As a landowner, you have multiple rights to your
land, such as the right to develop it and use its
resources. Through a conservation easement, you
donate certain rights to the land trust that then
holds those rights in perpetuity. You do not give up
ownership of the land or the right to use the land
in ways designated in the easement. For example, if
you want to continue to harvest timber, you can
create an easement that retains the right to use
your land in sustainable ways, but prevents
development. This kind of easement is called a
"working forest easement".
A conservation easement may entitle you to tax
benefits, because the value of your easement can be
treated as a charitable gift and can be deducted
from income taxes if federal tax code requirements
are met. Property taxes may be lowered if the
easement lowers the fair market value of the land.
Qualified appraisals are an important part of
determining tax benefits, and an attorney and local
assessors should be consulted. Estate taxes can also
be an important consideration. Heirs are often
forced to sell all or part of the land they inherit
to pay estate taxes. However, a conservation
easement may reduce inheritance taxes.
As the holder of your conservation easement, the
Keweenaw Land Trust is legally responsible for
monitoring the provisions of the easement by
conducting annual inspections and enforcing
restrictions. The landowner is encouraged to provide
a donation to the trust to offset the cost of this
For more information on conservation easements,
please a contact us. Also,
browse our online
publications for articles on conservation easements.
News and Updates on the Conservation Tax Incentive