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Monday, December 27, 2010

The Importance of Land Trusts (Blog Thirteen)

One of the most important things that an outdoors enthusiast can do, regardless of whether that individual is a hunter, angler, birder, hiker, camper or enjoys any number of other outdoor pursuits, is place rural property under a conservation easement through working with a land trust. I am a member of the Western Virginia Land Trust (WVLT), the New River Land Trust, (NRLT), and annually try to donate to the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF).  All of these entities perform a wonderful service, as do local, regional, and state land trusts across the country.

My wife Elaine and I have placed 392 acres in Craig County under easement, and we have gained great satisfaction in knowing that even after we die or even if our heirs sell the land, the development restrictions placed on the land because of the easements will remain in effect.  The conservation easements assure that our rural land will always remain rural, something wildlife many decades from now will benefit from.
When we placed our first property under easement, we were unaware that we would receive major tax benefits from doing so and that we would even receive tax refunds from the federal and state governments because, theoretically, we made the land worth less by restricting development on it.

To us, though, rural land is always emotionally worth more than the most developed lot in a city – no matter what the bottom line says.  Local, state, and regional land trusts exist throughout the country and chances are that one exists near you.  For more information, consult the following.

Land Trust Alliance (national organization):

1 comment:

  1. Great article on how important Land Trusts are to preserving our Rural Landscape.